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Permits for Infectious Agents

Importation of microbial agents or toxins that cause disease in humans, animals or plants are subject to regulation by the federal government. Permits may be required from the following agencies when importing such agents.

Human pathogens are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Other agents that may require a CDC permit include:

  • Some recombinant viral vectors derived from human pathogens
  • Unsterilized specimens of human and animal tissues containing an infectious or etiologic agent
  • Any animal known or suspected of being infected with an organism capable of causing disease in humans
  • Live bats
  • Any living insect or other arthropod that is known or suspected to contain a human pathogen
  • Snail species capable of transmitting a human pathogen
  • Select Agents and Toxins (SAT Homepage) (complete SAT list) in quantities exceeding permissible amounts.

Agents capable of introducing exotic animal diseases into the U.S. are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Such agents requiring USDA-APHIS permits include:

  • Infectious agents of livestock 
  • Biological materials containing animal material.
  • Tissue culture materials and suspensions of cell culture grown viruses
  • Other etiologic agents containing growth stimulants of bovine or other livestock origins

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits are required for certain live animals, including bats and some species of fish and birds.

Export of any agents described above are subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Please Risk Management: 843-792-3604  for assistance obtaining permits for import or export of infectious agents or toxins.

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