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Requirements for Work with Infectious Agents at UConn Health

If you work with infectious human pathogens (infectious agents) in your laboratory, you need to register your lab with the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Contact the Biological Safety Officer for questions, forms and checklists. Currently, the highest containment allowed at UConn Health is BSL-2 enhanced. Higher level risk group organisms/procedure combinations requiring higher containment are not allowed. Work with Proliferating Select Agents is not allowed at UConn Health.

Resources About Infectious Agents

  • Risk Groups (RG) and Biosafety Levels (abbreviated “BSL” in the BMBL and “BL” in the NIH r/s NA Guidelines): Infectious agents have been classified into Risk Groups (Appendix B, NIH r/s NA Guidelines criteria for these) based on their inherent disease potential in humans. Biosafety Levels (containment) are standardized “combinations of [protective] laboratory practices and techniques, safety equipment and laboratory facilities” (BMBL p. 11). For a good explanation of Risk Groups, Containment Levels and Risk Assessment see sections 2.1 through 2.3 of the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines 3rd Ed. from the Canadian Minister of Health.
  • Determining RGs for a given biological agent usually goes by what information can be found about that agent. Sometimes recommendations are given as BSLs. The US may not have classified an agent but maybe the Canadians have or maybe someone else. We typically choose the best information we can find. Here are some places to look:
    • ABSA risk group lists.
    • CDC/NIH’s Guideline, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), 5th Ed., 2007, has Agent Summary Statements with recommended containment precautions in Section VII, beginning on page 88.
    • Appendix B of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, November 2013 (NIH r/s NA Guidelines).
    • Pathogen Safety Data Sheets (PSDS) from Canada’s Office of Laboratory Security. They also have handy apps for iOS, Android & Windows!

Return to the Biosafety Main Page