September 13, 2022
KSVDL names Seetahal as rabies section head
The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, or KSVDL, has hired Janine Seetahal as section head for the Rabies Laboratory.
Seetahal received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of the West Indies in 2006, followed by a master's degree in public health in 2011 and later a doctorate in molecular genetics. Most recently, Seetahal has been devoted to regulatory and preventative veterinary medicine as a state veterinarian in Trinidad and Tobago from 2009 to 2022, with operational responsibilities broadly encompassing zoonotic diseases surveillance and control, animal import and export regulation, trade in livestock products and disaster management. She became passionate about the subject of rabies and bats while managing the Government Rabies Laboratory in Trinidad and Tobago during the 2010 rabies outbreak in livestock.
Seetahal has carried out many rabies educational initiatives, from boots-on-the-ground community drives to more structured events, such as World Rabies Day. She is looking forward to using her training, education and experience to continue to tackle this One Health issue.
"In my new role I aim to promote and advance the excellent standards of service provided to the public, industry and regulatory authorities by the KSVDL Rabies Laboratory and provide timely, accessible laboratory support to our clients that align well with modernized systems of the future," Seetahal said. "I also hope to contribute toward developing practical guidelines for rabies prevention based on scientific evidence that affords the best coverage, particularly to the most vulnerable groups and in areas where the epidemiology of the disease is not well known."
According to Jamie Retallick, director of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Seetahal's experience is a great fit for the mission of the lab and her leadership will position the lab for growth in the future.
"Dr. Seetahal has a passion for all areas that encompass the rabies virus testing, teaching and research," Retallick, said. "Her research background in rabies and publications on serological prevalence and epidemiology of the rabies virus will further enable her to lead KSVDL and the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in advancements on controlling the rabies virus."
The mission of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is to develop and deliver accurate, innovative, and timely diagnostic and consultative services to the veterinary and animal health community in Kansas and the nation. The Rabies Laboratory is one of the highest volume rabies serology centers in the world for both humans and animals, handling over 100,000 samples each year. The Rabies Laboratory meets quality monitoring standards of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments as well as numerous state departments of health and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.