National Reference Laboratory Surge Capacity Response to a Massive Nationwide Measles Outbreak in 2013-2014

Amado Tandoc III, Rex Centeno


This management case documents the experience of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) National Reference Laboratory, when a massive nationwide outbreak of Measles occurred during the last quarter of 2013 to the whole of 2014. This was the largest infectious disease outbreak referred thus far to the Institute, with an unprecedented 40,000 blood specimens from all over the country received by the laboratory, overwhelming its testing capacity, and causing large backlogs. The incident revealed significant gaps in the laboratory’s preparedness to respond to a sudden large surge of specimens.

The activation of a department-level Incident Command System was the most appropriate management approach to implement due to the urgency and scale of the surge of specimens. The response to the specimen surge was prioritized leading to temporary rearrangements in the organizational structure of the department in order to effectively and rapidly coordinate the staff and allocate resources.


measles, outbreak, surge capacity, outbreak response, incident command system, laboratory management

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