First Hours: Bioterrorism Agents
COMMUNICATING IN THE FIRST HOURS
Bioterrorism agents are separated into three categories—A, B, or C (see the CDC Bioterrorism Overview)—depending on how easily they can be spread and the severity of illness or death they cause.
- Category A agents are considered the highest risk and the highest priority.
- Category B agents are the second highest priority.
- Category C agents are the third highest priority and include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass spread in the future.
Category A agents include organisms and toxins that pose the highest risk to the public and national security for the following reasons:
- They can be easily spread or transmitted from person to person
- They result in high death rates and have the potential for major public health impact
- They could cause extreme concern and social disruption
- They require special action for public health preparedness
This section includes all Category A bioterrorism agents:
For information on Category B agents (second priority and naturally occurring infectious diseases) and Category C agents (third priority and emerging infectious diseases), see the Bioterrorism Agent Categories List .