Definition of Level 4 biosafety

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Level 4 biosafety: The highest level of biosafety. This level is used for the diagnosis of exotic agents such as the Ebola virus that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease, which may be transmitted by the aerosol route and for which there is no vaccine or therapy.

A biosafety level is a specific combination of work practices, safety equipment, and facilities which are designed to minimize the exposure of workers and the environment to infectious agents.

The 4 standard biosafety levels are:

  • Level 1 -- This level applies to agents that do not ordinarily cause human disease.
  • Level 2 -- This level is appropriate for agents that can cause human disease, but whose potential for transmission is limited.
  • Level 3 -- This level applies to agents that may be transmitted by the respiratory route which can cause serious infection.
  • Level 4 -- This level is used for the diagnosis of exotic agents that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease, which may be transmitted by the aerosol route and for which there is no vaccine or therapy.

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