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CDC Water Testing Detects Biothreat Agents in Drinking Water

Dept. of Health and Human Services

(Photo credit: James Gathany)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a protocol to rapidly sample water for microbial agents in foodborne and waterborne outbreak responses. Researchers use ultrafiltration that can simultaneously concentrate viruses, bacteria, parasites, and even some large toxins in water—all from a single sample instead of having to use a different sample and method for each target microbe.

The ultrafiltration-based water concentration method is part of the official Laboratory Response Network (LRN) method for detecting biothreat agents in drinking water. Approximately 160 U.S. LRN laboratories provide diagnostic capacity to identify agents possibly connected to biological or chemical terrorism events and infectious diseases.

The CDC National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) works to protect people at home and around the world from emerging and zoonotic infections ranging from A to Z—anthrax to Zika. We are living in an interconnected world where an outbreak of infectious disease is just a plane ride away.

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