Categories of Biological Agents

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preliminary Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Categories of Biological Agents

The federal government has defined the pathogens or toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health or safety.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) categorized these critical agents into three groups:

  • Category A agents (highest priority)
  • Category B agents (second highest priority)
  • Category C agents (third highest priority)

The biological agents are placed in one of the three groups depending on the level of risk each poses to national security.