Chapter 7 : Application of Microbial Source Tracking to Human Health and National Security

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Microbial source tracking (MST), the determination of a source of microorganisms into an environment, is a phrase that has been used by various microbiology disciplines. This chapter discusses some of the research and development efforts in bio-forensic technologies underway in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate. The chapter provides examples of some outbreaks that occurred and the responses by various relevant groups. A number of natural disease outbreaks have tested the readiness of the health care and political communities to respond and quickly and effectively manage them. A few recent outbreaks that can serve as examples are those of Sin Nombre hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, West Nile disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), United Kingdom foot-and-mouth disease, Asian soybean rust, and avian influenza. Anthrax is caused by the gram-positive endospore-forming bacterium . It has a long history as a human pathogen, and several authorities speculate that it was the cause of the sixth Egyptian plague recorded in the book of Genesis. There is opportunity for all those interested ultimately in human health safety, whether they are directly involved in issues related to human disease, plant disease, animal disease, water quality, air quality, soil quality, or food safety, to join their resources. It is the combined knowledge of these fields that will allow the most efficient approach for national security.

Citation: Nakatsu C, Pesenti P, Rhodes A. 2007. Application of Microbial Source Tracking to Human Health and National Security, p 211-234. In Santo Domingo J, Sadowsky M, Doyle M (ed), Microbial Source Tracking. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815769.ch7
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Analytical process employed for biological evidence. CBRN, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear.

Citation: Nakatsu C, Pesenti P, Rhodes A. 2007. Application of Microbial Source Tracking to Human Health and National Security, p 211-234. In Santo Domingo J, Sadowsky M, Doyle M (ed), Microbial Source Tracking. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815769.ch7
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Table 1

CDC list of select agents and toxins

Citation: Nakatsu C, Pesenti P, Rhodes A. 2007. Application of Microbial Source Tracking to Human Health and National Security, p 211-234. In Santo Domingo J, Sadowsky M, Doyle M (ed), Microbial Source Tracking. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815769.ch7
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Table 2

USDA select agents and toxins list

Citation: Nakatsu C, Pesenti P, Rhodes A. 2007. Application of Microbial Source Tracking to Human Health and National Security, p 211-234. In Santo Domingo J, Sadowsky M, Doyle M (ed), Microbial Source Tracking. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815769.ch7

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