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Biological Threat (BT) Program

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Bureau of Public Health Laboratories – JacksonvilleBureau of Public Health Laboratories – MiamiBureau of Public Health Laboratories – Tampa

Biological Threat (BT) Program 

The Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) Biological Threat (BT) program consists of three laboratories that belong to the National Laboratory Response Network for Bioterrorism (LRN-B), one at each BPHL laboratory. Each of these LRN-B laboratories has a Biosafety Level-3 containment suite, and the ability to detect and identify a variety of threat organisms and toxins that could be used as biological weapons.  Some examples include Bacillus anthracis (causing anthrax), Yersinia pestis (causing plague), smallpox virus, ricin toxin and botulinum toxin. The BPHL LRN-B laboratories can test for these threat agents in environmental samples (suspicious substances/powders) and clinical samples.

Personnel from these three facilities train sentinel laboratory staff from hospitals and commercial laboratories annually in the protocols and techniques used to perform rule-out testing for these organisms. In addition, BPHL also provides training to first responders on how to collect, decontaminate and safely transport environmental samples to the LRN-B laboratory for testing.
For a detailed fact sheet about the program, click here.