Bioterrorism and Public Health Safety Concerns: Testing for Toxins and Infectious Agents



To assist in confirming the diagnosis of infection or poisoning in cases of accidental or intentional exposure to agents of high risk to public health safety.

Patient Preparation
There are no food or fluid restrictions unless by medical direction; as a general rule, specimens should be collected prior to administration of antibiotics whenever possible.

Normal Findings
(Method: Disease specific) Negative findings for the organism or toxin of interest; negative serology; negative PCR.

Critical Findings and Potential Interventions

  • Positive findings for a disease listed in the Overview section lead to a high likelihood of being required for reporting to the appropriate agencies. Specific infectious organisms are required to be reported to local, state, and national departments of health. Lists of specific organisms may vary among facilities. State health departments provide information regarding reportable diseases, which can be accessed at each state health department Web site. The CDC provides information regarding national notifiable diseases at

Timely notification to the requesting health-care provider (HCP) of any critical findings and related symptoms is a role expectation of the professional nurse. A listing of these findings varies among facilities.

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