at work in BSL-4 laboratory.
Special Pathogens Branch works with Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) viruses.
These viruses are highly pathogenic and require handling in special laboratory
facilities designed to contain them.
focuses mainly on viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), such as Ebola hemorrhagic
fever, Lassa fever, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and hemorrhagic
fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Our work
also includes the study of other emerging viral disease agents that do
not cause hemorrhagic fever, but require BSL-4 handling, such as Nipah
virus and tick-borne encephalitis virus.
of the viruses we work with are zoonotic (animal-borne), lipid-enveloped
RNA viruses. Some of them are rare, whereas others are quite common and
cause frequently debilitating or fatal disease in many thousands of people. Some
of the virus types are found in relatively small geographic areas, others
are distributed over continents. If you were to draw a map showing
where these viruses were found collectively, your map would cover most
of the inhabited regions of the globe.
more general information on VHFs, please refer to our Viral
Hemorraghic Fevers Fact Sheet.
of Virus Families and Diseases
following is a table of the diseases/agents that are presently the focus
of our work activities. Currently, only some virus family and disease
fact sheets are available on-line.