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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Category B Agents: Reasons Why They May be Used to Create Public Health Emergencies:


  • Organisms survive well in aerosols, resist drying, and are highly infectious
  • As few as 10-50 cells can be an infectious dose
  • Only a few aerosolized organisms are needed to trigger diseases that could potentially carry a high mortality rate

Poisoning (Ricin Toxin):

  • Source material, castor beans, is widely available
  • Aerosolized or introduced contamination of a food supply could lead to mass casualties