When planning research involving infectious agents, it is important to be well-informed about how the infectious disease is transmitted and the infectious disease outcomes before you or any other lab members begin working with the agent. The resources below provide this kind of information as well as other details relevant for risk assessment such as methods for biological inactivation, history of lab-acquired infections and biosafety level recommendations for specific activities.
All BSL-2 labs should assure that their biosafety manual includes an infectious agent profile for each infectious agent actively in use in the lab and that all personnel review and understand this information before beginning work with these agents. Contact the VEHS Biosafety Section for guidance if needed.
Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) may be present in blood, unfixed tissues and certain other body fluids. BBPs are transmitted through breaks in the skin such as needle sticks or cuts involving BBP-containing materials. Direct contact of BBP-containing materials with damaged unprotected skin is another route of exposure. Finally, splashes to the eyes, nose or mouth involving BBP-containing materials can also lead to transmission. In the case of human-derived materials, the 3 BBPs most commonly found in the U.S. are HIV, HBV & HCV. Features of these viruses and infections they cause are summarized in this table.
Biological Agent Health Action Grid
This general information guide prepared by the VEHS Biosafety Section summarizes medical intervention and transmission features of biological agents recognized as infectious to healthy human adults. The sources for foonote information include: CDC/NIH's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th edition; CDC/HHS's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; and the APHIS/CDC's National Select Agent Registry/Select Agents Exclusion.
The FDA Bad Bug Book (2nd Edition)
This handbook provides basic facts regarding foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. It brings together in one place information from the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, and the National Institutes of Health.
The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals: Infectious Diseases Section
This section contains links to reference pages for a large range of agents infectious to humans. Information includes an overview of the agent, sources of infection, signs and symptoms of infection, treatment and prevention measures.
The Merck Veterinary Manual
Keyword search on the agent of interest will provide information regarding infectious disease outcomes in various animal species.
Health Canada MSDS for Infectious Substances
These reference sheets, modeled after material safety data sheets (MSDS) used for hazardous chemicals, are organized to contain health hazard information such as infectious dose, viability (including decontamination), medical information, laboratory hazard, recommended precautions, handling information and spill procedures. The intent of these documents is to provide a safety resource for laboratory personnel working with these infectious substances.
Risk Group Classification of Human Etiologic Agents
(Appendix B of NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules)
This appendix includes those biological agents known to infect humans as well as selected animal agents that may pose theoretical risks if inoculated into humans. Included are lists of representative genera and species known to be pathogenic; mutated, recombined, and non-pathogenic species and strains are not considered. Non-infectious life cycle stages of parasites are excluded.
Agent Summary Statements
(Section VIII of CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiology and Biomedical Laboratories)
This section of the BMBL provides a profile of agents infectious to humans. The profile includes a general agent description, any history of lab-acquired infections, permit or other regulatory requirements, vaccine recommendations and biosafety level assignment considerations.