Federation of American Scientists Module 1.0: Introduction
Topic: History of Bioweapons Subtopic: Laboratory Biosafety

Laboratory Biosafety Image

With the rapid expansion of biodefense research and construction of more Biosafety Level-3 and -4 (BSL-3 and -4) laboratories after 2001, public concerns over the accidental release of an agent have grown. In 2004 alone, a number of major incidents occurred, including a Ft. Detrick laboratory worker being exposed to the Ebola virus following a needle-stick accident; a Taiwanese researcher becoming infected with the SARS virus; and three laboratory workers becoming infected with the tularemia bacterium at Boston University Medical Center. While these infections have been confined to the research facility, it is clear that the potential exists for releases of virulent pathogens outside of the laboratories to the public at large.

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