Thwarting the World’s Most Dangerous Pathogens: Biodefense Remains a National Priority


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Infectious Microbes Grouped According to Risk*

*Adapted from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratory. HHS; 2009. Eds: Deborah E. Wilson and L. Casey Chosewood. Chart compiled by Marcia Stone. Click to view larger image.

† Prions cannot be destroyed by steam autoclaving, advises Alan Munn from Griffith University in Southport, Queensland, Australia. The Australian Standard for decontamination is high-concentration sodium hypochlorite for at least 60 minutes. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide and phenolics can also be used. High temperature incineration converts protein to carbon, nitrogen and water making survival a challenge for any infecting prions; however, prion-contaminated material is disinfected some more before transport to the incineration site. Prions are not considered very contagious thus, as in the U.S., BSL-2 (PC-2 in Australia) containment is considered sufficient. 

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Wilson, D. E. and Chosewood, L.C. 2009. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: pp. 1-415.HHS Publication No. (CDC) 21-1112. Accessed July 1, 2013.

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