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Biological & Chemical Terrorism Response

Bioterrorism Response

San Bernardino County Public Health Laboratory is a member of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and is responsible for the investigation and/or referral of specimens. We provide guidance and training as well as perform testing for potential select agents in high risk environmental or clinical specimens.

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Bioterrorism website

Select Agents from Clinical Laboratories

Select Agents are highly pathogenic organisms with the potential to be used as bioterrorism agents. Examples include Bacillus anthracis, Brucella species, and Ebola virus.

  • Unconfirmed Select Agents submitted for rule-outs by Clinical Labs to the Public Health Lab should be submitted as Category B Infectious Substances. This includes:
    • Watertight primary receptacle.
    • Watertight secondary receptacle.
    • Absorbent material, sufficient to absorb the entire contents of all primary receptacles placed between the primary receptacle and the secondary receptacle.
    • UN3373 label

Transportation guidelines such as shipping temperatures vary depending on whether the sample source is a bacterial isolate, primary clinical sample or environmental sample. Please call the laboratory for consultation.

  • Notification before shipping to the Public Health Lab is critical in order to alert staff and prioritize testing. Please call San Bernardino County Public Health Laboratory at (909) 458-9430.
  • Confirmed Select Agents or specimens with a high likelihood of containing high pathogenic Select Agents such as Ebola virus must be packaged and shipped to the testing laboratory using World Courier. The receiving laboratory must be notified by the shipper in advance.

Detection and identification by molecular and conventional methods:

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Brucella species
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Yersinia pestis
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei
  • Ricin
  • Vesicular rash/smallpox
  • Clostridium botulinum (testing referred to California Department of Public Health, Microbial Disease Laboratory)

If any of the above organisms or conditions is suspected, please contact the laboratory for telephone consultation.

Chemical Terrorism Response – Ricin

Visit the Centers for Disease Control Emergency Preparedness and Response – Facts About Ricin and Chemical Emergencies Overview.

(All information obtained from the CDC website.)

Contact Information

Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Phone: (909) 458-9430
Fax: (909) 986-3590

After Hours
Weekends and Holidays, 5:00 PM – 8:00 AM
County Communication Center
Officer on Duty: (909) 356-3811
or (909) 356-3805

Public Health Microbiologists are on duty and will contact you within minutes.