Improved Biosafety and Biosecurity Measures and/or Strategies to Tackle Laboratory-Acquired Infections and Related Risks.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 11 29; 15(12)IJ
Herein, we reviewed laboratory-acquired infections (LAIs) along with their health-related biological risks to provide an evidence base to tackle biosafety/biosecurity and biocontainment issues. Over the past years, a broad spectrum of pathogenic agents, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, or genetically modified organisms, have been described and gained a substantial concern due to their profound biological as well as ecological risks. Furthermore, the emergence and/or re-emergence of life-threatening diseases are of supreme concern and come under the biosafety and biosecurity agenda to circumvent LAIs. Though the precise infection risk after an exposure remains uncertain, LAIs inspections revealed that Brucella spp., Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Rickettsia spp., and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes. Similarly, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as hepatitis B (HBV) and C viruses (HCV), and the dimorphic fungi are accountable for the utmost number of viral and fungal-associated LAIs. In this context, clinical laboratories at large and microbiology, mycology, bacteriology, and virology-oriented laboratories, in particular, necessitate appropriate biosafety and/or biosecurity measures to ensure the safety of laboratory workers and working environment, which are likely to have direct or indirect contact/exposure to hazardous materials or organisms. Laboratory staff education and training are indispensable to gain an adequate awareness to handle biologically hazardous materials as per internationally recognized strategies. In addition, workshops should be organized among laboratory workers to let them know the epidemiology, pathogenicity, and human susceptibility of LAIs. In this way, several health-related threats that result from the biologically hazardous materials can be abridged or minimized and controlled by the correct implementation of nationally and internationally certified protocols that include proper microbiological practices, containment devices/apparatus, satisfactory facilities or resources, protective barriers, and specialized education and training of laboratory staffs. The present work highlights this serious issue of LAIs and associated risks with suitable examples. Potential preventive strategies to tackle an array of causative agents are also discussed. In this respect, the researchers and scientific community may benefit from the lessons learned in the past to anticipate future problems.