The primary goal of the diagnostic community is to provide a reliable and accurate service to clinicians, practitioners and biologist. Diagnostic work on marine mammal specimens presents many challenges as well as opportunities to advance aquatic medicine. Diagnostic assays and techniques available today continue to progress as we gain more knowledge and understanding of marine mammal disease. Gaining and sharing diagnostic information is vital to continuous improvement and standardization of diagnostic assays as well as the interpretation of test results.
The collective efforts and expertise of the marine mammal biologists, clinicians and diagnosticians has resulted in great advances in marine mammal diagnostic virology. Laboratory tests are critically dependant upon the samples from which they are generated. We hope to enhance those efforts with recommendations for proper collection, packaging, shipping and handling of diagnostic specimens to obtain optimum results.
The application of molecular diagnostic techniques has enhanced our ability to diagnose known as well as novel infectious agents. Traditional techniques such as virus isolation and serum neutralization tests remain an essential component of diagnostic and epidemiological studies. This presentation aims to provide an overview of existing laboratory techniques emphasizing the strengths and limitations of each assay as they relate to interpretation of laboratory results. In conclusion, a summary of our most recent findings will be presented.