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  • colony of fruit bats in a cave

    Studying viruses in fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus)

    A colony of fruit bats in a Ugandan cave.

  • Poster detailing Ebola virus ecology and ransmission

    Life cycle poster

    Diagram describing Ebola virus ecology and transmission.

  • Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) image of an Ebola virus virion

    Ebola virus

    Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) image of an Ebola virus virion.

  • Researcher weighing a deer mouse in a field

    Host ecology

    Weighing a deer mouse, host of the Sin Nombre hantavirus, to learn more about host ecology.

  • Two men hanging a poster on a wall

    Filovirus outbreak preparations

    CDC scientist working with Ugandan hospital staff to prepare for filovirus outbreaks.

  • Woman wearing protective clothing in a medical facility

    Ebola outbreak support

    CDC scientists working in Democratic Republic of Congo during an Ebola outbreak.

  • Person wearing protective clothing holding a tick in a container

    Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) research

    CDC Scientist collecting ticks for evidence of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF).

  • Man in a field with several live traps

    Deer mice research

    CDC scientist with live traps for capturing deer mice at Montana research station.

The Viral Special Pathogens Branch's (VSPB) charter is the study of highly infectious viruses, many of which cause hemorrhagic manifestations in humans. Our daily work involves the investigation of viruses of Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus, Lassa fever virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, other Arenavirus and Hantavirus species, and additional recently identified and emerging viral species.

Almost all of these viruses are classified as Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) pathogens and as such must be handled in special facilities designed to contain them safely. VSPB operates one of the world's few BSL-4 laboratories. In addition, VSPB provides technical and research/diagnostic materials to many international laboratories and collaborators. VSBP staff members are trained to respond to global disease outbreaks and provide assistance for disease detection and control measures.

VSPB uses the following disciplines and tools to understand and control these diseases: public health practices, molecular biology, molecular evolution of viruses, clinical diagnostics, clinical medicine, epidemiology, immunology, pathogenesis, comparative biology, ecology, and community education. The Infectious Disease Pathology Branch (IDPB) at CDC assists VSPB with diagnostic pathology and surveillance.

VSPB Topics

notebook and pencil About VSPB

Mission statement, key challenges, diseases...

magnifying glass and footprint Outbreaks

VSPB outbreak investigations...

petri dish Specimen Submission Information

Instructions, forms, contact information...

open book Resources

VSPB publications...

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