Biological Threats - Medical Professionals

Category A Diseases/Agents (See definition)

Category B Diseases/Agents (See definition)

Category C Diseases/Agents (See definition)

Category Definitions

The national public health system and primary health care providers must be prepared to address various biological agents, including pathogens that are rarely seen in the United States.

Category A Diseases/Agents

High-priority agents include organisms that pose a risk to national security because they

  • can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person;
  • result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact;
  • might cause public panic and social disruption; and
  • require special action for public health preparedness.

Category B Diseases/Agents

Second highest priority agents include those that

  • are moderately easy to disseminate;
  • result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates; and
  • require specific enhancements of CDC's diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance.

Category C Diseases/Agents

Third highest priority agents include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future because of

  • availability;
  • ease of production and dissemination; and
  • potential for high morbidity and mortality rates and major health impact.

For more information on the agent/disease selection and prioritization process, see Rotz LD, Khan AS, Lillibridge SR, et all. Public health assessment of potential biological terrorism agents. Emerg Infect Dis 2002; 8(2):225-30.