Bioterrorism and Public Health

Category “B” Biological Agents

Written by MicroDok

Category “B” Biological Agents are the second highest priority biological agents that have lesser public alertness than agents in Category “A”. They are moderately easy to disseminate. Biological agents of concern for water and food safety are included in Category “B”. Agents in Category “B” cause less morbidity and mortality, and they are mostly implicated in outbreaks of food-borne and water-borne diseases.

Examples of biological agents in Category “B” include:

  • Staphylococcal enterotoxin B – that cause food poisoning.
  • Brucella abortus – that causes brucellosis.
  • Chlamydia psittaci – that causes psittacosis.
  • Rickettsia prowazekii ­– that causes typhus fever.
  • Coxiella burnetti – that causes Q fever.
  • Burkholderia mallei – that causes glanders.
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei – that causes melioidosis.
  • Ricin toxin from castor beans (Ricinus communis).
  • Epsilon toxin of Clostridium perfringens
  • Food safety threat pathogens (e.g. Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella).
  • Water safety threat pathogens (e.g. Vibrio cholerae, Cryptosporidium parvum).
  • Alphaviruses – that causes viral encephalitis (e.g. Western Equine Encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis).    
  • Abrin toxin from Rosary peas (Abrus precatorius).


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