Survey of laboratory-acquired infections around the world in biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories

  • N. Wurtz
  • A. Papa
  • M. Hukic
  • A. Di Caro
  • I. Leparc-Goffart
  • E. Leroy
  • M. P. Landini
  • Z. Sekeyova
  • J. S. Dumler
  • D. Bădescu
  • N. Busquets
  • A. Calistri
  • C. Parolin
  • G. Palù
  • I. Christova
  • M. Maurin
  • B. La Scola
  • D. Raoult
Original Article


Laboratory-acquired infections due to a variety of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi have been described over the last century, and laboratory workers are at risk of exposure to these infectious agents. However, reporting laboratory-associated infections has been largely voluntary, and there is no way to determine the real number of people involved or to know the precise risks for workers. In this study, an international survey based on volunteering was conducted in biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories to determine the number of laboratory-acquired infections and the possible underlying causes of these contaminations. The analysis of the survey reveals that laboratory-acquired infections have been infrequent and even rare in recent years, and human errors represent a very high percentage of the cases. Today, most risks from biological hazards can be reduced through the use of appropriate procedures and techniques, containment devices and facilities, and the training of personnel.


Brucellosis Personal Protective Equipment Coccidioidomycosis Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Tularemia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Robert A. Heinzen and Jean-Marc Reynes for their participation in the survey.

This study was supported by the projects APVV-0280-12 and VEGA 2/0005/15.

Compliance with ethical standards



Ethical approval

Not applicable.

Informed consent

Not applicable.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Wurtz
    • 1
  • A. Papa
    • 2
  • M. Hukic
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. Di Caro
    • 5
  • I. Leparc-Goffart
    • 6
  • E. Leroy
    • 7
    • 8
  • M. P. Landini
    • 9
  • Z. Sekeyova
    • 10
  • J. S. Dumler
    • 11
  • D. Bădescu
    • 12
  • N. Busquets
    • 13
  • A. Calistri
    • 14
  • C. Parolin
    • 14
  • G. Palù
    • 14
  • I. Christova
    • 15
  • M. Maurin
    • 16
  • B. La Scola
    • 1
  • D. Raoult
    • 1
  1. 1.URMITE, CNRS UMR 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095, Aix Marseille Université, IHU Méditerranée InfectionMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Medical SchoolAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.International Burch University of SarajevoSarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina
  4. 4.Department of Medical ScienceAcademy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and HerzegovinaSarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina
  5. 5.National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. SpallanzaniRomeItaly
  6. 6.ERRIT-IRBA, HIA Laveran, Centre National de Référence des ArbovirosesMarseilleFrance
  7. 7.Laboratoire MiVEGEC, UMR IRD 224 CNRS 5290 UMIMontpellier Cedex 5France
  8. 8.International Center for Medical Research of FrancevilleFrancevilleGabon
  9. 9.Unit of Clinical Microbiology, Regional Reference Centre for Microbiological Emergencies (CRREM)St Orsola-Malpighi University HospitalBolognaItaly
  10. 10.Institute of VirologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovak Republic
  11. 11.Departments of Pathology and Microbiology & ImmunologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  12. 12.Cantacuzino National Institute of ResearchBucharestRomania
  13. 13.IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB)Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  14. 14.Department of Molecular MedicineUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  15. 15.Department of MicrobiologyNational Center of Infectious and Parasitic DiseasesSofiaBulgaria
  16. 16.Centre National de Référence des Francisella, Laboratoire de Bactériologie, Département des Agents Infectieux, Institut de Biologie et Pathologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de GrenobleUniversité Joseph FourierGrenobleFrance

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