Bioterrorism agents are separated into three categories, depending on how easily they can be spread and the severity of illness or death they cause. Category A agents are considered the highest risk and Category C agents are those that are considered emerging threats for disease.
These high-priority agents include organisms or toxins that pose the highest risk to the public and national security because they:
– Can be easily spread or transmitted from person to person
– Result in high death rates and have the potential for major public health impact
– Could cause public panic and social disruption
– Require special action for public health preparedness.
These agents are the second highest priority because they:
– Are moderately easy to spread
– Result in moderate illness rates and low death rates
– Require specific enhancements of CDC’s laboratory capacity and enhanced disease monitoring.
These third highest priority agents include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass spread in the future because they:
– Are easily available
– Are easily produced and spread
– Have potential for high morbidity and mortality rates and major health impact.
Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Response Preparedness, http://www.bt.cdc.gov/bioterrorism/, Retrieved Nov-17-2009
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