Practical biosafety in the tuberculosis laboratory: containment at the source is what truly counts

D. Soolingen, H.J. Wisselink, R. Lumb, R. Anthony, A. van der Zanden, C. Gilpin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In industrialised countries, sufficient resources for establishing and maintaining fully equipped biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratories according to international standards are generally available. BSL-3 laboratories are designed to provide several layers of containment to protect the laboratory worker as well as the outside environment and community from risk of exposure in case of local contamination. However, such facilities are scarce in high-burden settings, primarily due to the high financial burden and complexity of the initial construction and/or regular maintenance. Measures to prevent unintended exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis during laboratory manipulation of specimens and cultures is the first, and by far the most important, aspect of containment. This paper focuses on the need for risk containment at source. Assuming that in many settings the establishment of BSL-3 laboratories with all the required features is not achievable, this paper also discusses the minimum requirements necessary to mitigate risks associated with particular laboratory procedures. The term 'TB containment laboratory' is used throughout this paper to describe the minimum requirements for a laboratory suitable for high-risk procedures. The TB containment laboratory has many, but not all, of the features of a BSL-3 laboratory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-889
JournalThe International Journal of Tubercolosis and Lung Disease
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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