Emergency Preparedness - Bioterrorism Agents and Diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Category A, B, & C Agents by Definition:

Category A Diseases/Agents

The U.S. public health system and primary healthcare providers must be prepared to address various biological agents, including pathogens that are rarely seen in the United States. High-priority agents include organisms that pose a risk to national security because they:

  • can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person
  • result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact
  • might cause public panic and social disruption
  • require special action for public health preparedness

Category B Diseases/Agents

Second highest priority agents include those that:

  • are moderately easy to disseminate
  • result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates
  • require specific enhancements of CDC's diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance.

Category C Diseases/Agents

Third highest priority agents include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future because of:

  • availability
  • ease of production and dissemination
  • potential for high morbidity and mortality rates and major health impact

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