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Chapter 12 : Biothreat Agents

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Abstract:

Due to their unique features in causing mass destructive diseases, the priority biological agents for use in bioterror events include anthrax, brucellosis, Q fever, tularemia, plague, hemorrhagic fever viruses, and toxins (botulinum, staphylococcal enterotoxins, and T-2 mycotoxins). Each of these is discussed in this chapter with regard to its significance as a biothreat agent, its epidemiology and natural routes of transmission, and appropriate specimens to submit for laboratory diagnosis. The two laboratories considered as Laboratory Response Network (LRN) national laboratories function to perform susceptibility testing on biothreat agents when necessary and can also safely handle highly infectious viral agents. The function of the LRN sentinel laboratories is to recognize possible biothreat agents and submit them to an LRN reference laboratory as soon as possible for definitive identification. A section of the chapter focuses on 16 recently emergent pathogens-some well recognized, others less so-and provides contemporary knowledge, with emphasis on epidemiology and factors responsible for emergence. Most human infections are associated with consumption of beef or direct contact with animals and animal feces. is one of the most important health care-associated pathogens, causing diarrhea and pseudomem-branous colitis in hospitalized patients and residents of long-term care facilities. Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is endemic in East and Southeast Asia, where it is the most important cause of mosquito-borne encephalitis.

Citation: Sharp S, Loeffelholz M. 2011. Biothreat Agents, p 174-187. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch12

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The LRN is charged with the task of maintaining an integrated network of state and local public health, federal, military, and international laboratories that can respond to bioterrorism, chemical terrorism, and other public health emergencies.

Citation: Sharp S, Loeffelholz M. 2011. Biothreat Agents, p 174-187. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch12
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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 1

Critical biological agents for public health preparedness

Citation: Sharp S, Loeffelholz M. 2011. Biothreat Agents, p 174-187. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch12
Generic image for table
Table 2

Diagnosis of biothreat agents

BSL, biosafety level.

Citation: Sharp S, Loeffelholz M. 2011. Biothreat Agents, p 174-187. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch12

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