• 09 Apr 2019 8:13 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    Laboratory exposure to Coccidioides: lessons learnt in a non-endemic country

    Coccidioides is a primary pathogenic fungus, which infects humans through highly infectious arthroconidia, causing substantial morbidity including life-threatening disseminated infections. Due to the low infectious dose, laboratory personnel might become infected during diagnostic procedures. Accordingly, coccidioidomycosis is reported as the most frequent laboratory-acquired systemic mycosis worldwide. This risk is aggravated in nonendemic countries, where the diagnosis may not be suspected. We report on an inadvertent exposure of 44 persons to Coccidioides posadasii in a clinical microbiology laboratory in Chile, the measures of containment after rapid diagnosis with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and the lessons learnt in a non-endemic setting.

    Floor and environmental contamination during glove disposal

    Background: Evidence suggests that doffing and possibly disposal of used personal protective equipment (PPE) can lead to environmental contamination. Aim: To ascertain the potential for site and floor contamination when medical gloves are inappropriately disposed. Methods: Fifteen healthcare workers (HCWs) disposed of gloves inoculated with bacteriophage and a chemical dye into a wastebasket, located 1.22 m away. Following each trial, designated sample areas were visually inspected with a blacklight for fluorescent dye stains and swabbed with a 3M Letheen Broth sponge to quantify the bacteriophage. Findings: The area closest to the participant (<0.30 m) had the highest bacteriophage concentrations (geomean: 6.9  103 pfu/100 cm2 ; range: 8.07 to 3.93  107 pfu/100 cm2 ). Bacteriophage concentrations were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in areas 0.61 m compared to >0.61 m from the HCWs. Although the farthest distances (1.22e1.52 m) resulted in 14% bacteriophage- and 4% fluorescent dye-positive occurrences, there was no significant difference (P ¼ 0.069) between the tracers. The bacteriophage and chemical dye indicate highest environmental contamination nearest the HCWs and both tracers could be appropriate for PPE disposal training. Conclusion: HCWs use gloves every workday and potentially could contaminate surrounding surfaces and floors, during improper disposal practices. Therefore, proper disposal techniques are required to minimize pathogen transmission by establishing industry-wide policies, adequate training, and education to HCWs.

  • 05 Apr 2019 9:01 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases published an article on laboratory containment and management of gene drive systems in arthropods. Please refer to the abstract below as well as the link to the article website.

    Recommendations for Laboratory Containment and Management of Gene Drive Systems in Arthropods

    Versatile molecular tools for creating driving transgenes and other invasive genetic factors present regulatory, ethical, and environmental challenges that should be addressed to ensure their safe use. In this article, we discuss driving transgenes and invasive genetic factors that can potentially spread after their introduction into a small proportion of individuals in a population. The potential of invasive genetic factors to increase their number in natural populations presents challenges that require additional safety measures not provided by previous recommendations regarding accidental release of arthropods. In addition to providing physical containment, invasive genetic factors require greater attention to strain management, including their distribution and identity confirmation. In this study, we focus on insects containing such factors with recommendations for investigators who are creating them, institutional biosafety committees charged with ensuring safety, funding agencies providing support, those managing insectaries handling these materials who are responsible for containment, and other persons who will be receiving insects—transgenic or not—from these facilities. We give specific examples of efforts to modify mosquitoes for mosquito-borne disease control, but similar considerations are relevant to other arthropods that are important to human health, the environment, and agriculture.

    Link to article.

  • 05 Mar 2019 7:26 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    OIE just published new guidelines to address the dual-use condundrum in research, specifically, research into animal pathogens. The guidelines may be found at the following link.

  • 01 Mar 2019 6:17 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    A new study looking at infectious diseases occurring in the workplace in the USA between 2006 and 2015 was published recently. The article and its findings, which may be of value to our members, can be found here.

  • 15 Feb 2019 1:51 PM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    A new opinion piece on the future of containment has just been published. Interested parties may find the article here.

  • 04 Feb 2019 11:23 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    Recently, two articles on room fumigation, including the use of aerosolised hydrogen peroxide, were published in Applied Biosafety.

    Comparison and Validation of Three Fumigation Methods to Inactivate Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus

    Plasma-Activated Aerosolised Hydrogen Peroxide (aHP) in Surface Inactivation Procedures

  • 08 Jan 2019 7:57 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The Federal Office for the Environment published its guidelines for the safe handling of animals in containment. The document may be downloaded here:



  • 14 Dec 2018 9:21 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    EBSA will hold its annual meeting from April 2nd to 5th 2019 in Bucharest, Romania. Further details may be found here.

  • 06 Nov 2018 8:46 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The Public Health Agency of Canada released their latest data on laboratory exposures to pathogens and toxins from the year 2017. The article may be found in the following link.

  • 05 Oct 2018 9:04 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    Below you may find links to two recent articles on biosecurity issues our community and the world at large are currently facing. The first article discusses the implications of generating synthetic viruses, while the second article looks at gene drives in agro-sciences and how this may impact our lives.

    If you feel like discussing these issues or simply want to let us know your thoughts on this, please use our forum. We will gladly take your comments and forward them to our national authorities to further discuss future developments in the field.

    Synthetic Viruses - Anything New?

    Agricultural Research or a New Bioweapon System?

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