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Biosafety Guidelines for Handling Microorganisms in the Teaching Laboratory: Development and Rationale

    Authors: Elizabeth A. B. Emmert1, the ASM Task Committee on Laboratory Biosafety1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 06 May 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21801. Phone: 410-543-6363. Fax: 410-543-6433. E-mail: [email protected].
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 78-83. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.531
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    Abstract:

    The safe handling of microorganisms in the teaching laboratory is a top priority. However, in the absence of a standard set of biosafety guidelines tailored to the teaching laboratory, individual educators and institutions have been left to develop their own plans. This has resulted in a lack of consistency, and differing levels of biosafety practices across institutions. Influenced by the lack of clear guidelines and a recent outbreak of infections that was traced back to teaching laboratory exposures, the Education Board of the American Society for Microbiology charged a task force to develop a uniform set of biosafety guidelines for working with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory. These guidelines represent best practices for safely handling microbes, based on the safety requirements found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL). Guidelines for safely handling microbes at both biosafety level 1 (BSL1) and biosafety level 2 (BSL2) were developed. The guidelines are brief by design for ease of use and are accompanied by an extensive appendix containing explanatory notes, sample documents, and additional resources. These guidelines provide educators with a clear and consistent way to safely work with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory.

References & Citations

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2012 Investigation update: human SalmonellaTyphimurium infections associated with exposure to clinical and teaching microbiology laboratories Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-laboratory/011712/.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 Section IV—Laboratory Biosafety Level Criteria 30 59 Biosafety in microbiological and biomedical laboratories 5th ed U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Washington, D.C http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/.
3. Harding L, Byers KB 2006 Epidemiology of laboratory-associated infections 53 77 Fleming DO, Hunt DL Biological safety: principles and practices 4th ed ASM Press Washington, DC
4. Woolverton CJ Teaching Laboratories Gentry-Weeks C, Ellis R, Wooley D Biological safety: principles and practices 5th ed in press ASM Press Washington, DC

Supplemental Material

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2013-05-06
2019-10-18

Abstract:

The safe handling of microorganisms in the teaching laboratory is a top priority. However, in the absence of a standard set of biosafety guidelines tailored to the teaching laboratory, individual educators and institutions have been left to develop their own plans. This has resulted in a lack of consistency, and differing levels of biosafety practices across institutions. Influenced by the lack of clear guidelines and a recent outbreak of infections that was traced back to teaching laboratory exposures, the Education Board of the American Society for Microbiology charged a task force to develop a uniform set of biosafety guidelines for working with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory. These guidelines represent best practices for safely handling microbes, based on the safety requirements found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL). Guidelines for safely handling microbes at both biosafety level 1 (BSL1) and biosafety level 2 (BSL2) were developed. The guidelines are brief by design for ease of use and are accompanied by an extensive appendix containing explanatory notes, sample documents, and additional resources. These guidelines provide educators with a clear and consistent way to safely work with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory.

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