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Environmental Health and Safety
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Acquisition, Possession and Shipment of Biologicals

The acquisition, possession or shipment of certain organisms pathogenic for either man, animal or plant is regulated by various state and federal agencies. General information is provided below. 

A. Human Pathogens and Related Materials

The importation or subsequent receipt of etiologic agents and vectors of human disease is subject to Foreign Quarantine Regulations (42 CFR, Section 71.156). Permits authorizing the importation or receipt of regulated materials and specifying conditions under which the agent or vector is shipped, handled, and used are issued by the Centers for Disease Control.  

The interstate shipment of indigenous etiologic agents, diagnostic specimens and biological products is subject to applicable packaging, labeling and shipping requirements of the Interstate Shipment of Etiologic Agents (42 CFR Part 72). Packaging and labeling requirements for interstate shipment of etiologic agents are summarized and illustrated in Appendix 2. 

Additional information on the importation and interstate shipment of etiologic agents of human disease and other related materials may be obtained by contacting EH&S or:

Office of Biosafety 

Centers for Disease Control 

1600 Clifton Road, NE 

Atlanta, Georgia 30333 

Telephone: (404) 329-3883 

B. Animal Pathogens 

Non-indigenous pathogens of domestic livestock and poultry may require special laboratory design, operation, and containment features not generally addressed in this manual. The importation, possession, or use of the following agents is prohibited or restricted by law or by U. S. Department of Agriculture regulations or administrative policies:  

  •  African horse sickness virus
  •  Histoplasma (Zymonema) 
  •  African swine fever virus
  •  farciminosum Besnoitia besnoiti Louping ill virus
  •  Borna disease virus
  •  Lumpy skin disease virus 
  •  Bovine infectious petechial
  •  Nairobi sheep disease virus 
  •  (Gamjam virus) 
  •  Camel pox virus
  •  Newcastle Disease virus
  •  Ephemeral fever virus 
  •  Mycoplasma mycoides 
  •  Teschen disease virus
  •  Mycoplasma agalactiae
  •  Trypanosoma vivax
  •  Pseudomonas mallei 
  •  Trypansoma evansi
  •  Rickettsia ruminantium
  •  Trypanosoma parva
  •  Rift Valley fever virus 
  •  Theilaria annulata
  •  Rinderpest virus 
  •  Theileria lawrencei 
  •  Sheep pox virus
  •  Thaileria bovis 
  •  Swine vesicular disease virus 
  •  Theileria hirce 
  •  Foot and mouth disease virus 
  •  Vesicular exanthema virus
  •  Fowl plague virus Wesselsbron disease virus 
  • Hog cholera virus 

The importation, possession, use or interstate shipment of animal pathogens other than those listed above may also be subject to regulations of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Additional information may be obtained by writing directly to:

Chief Staff Veterinarian

Organisms and Vectors; Veterinary Services

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services 

U. S. Department of Agriculture

Hyattsville, Maryland 20782 

Telephone: (301) 436-8017 

C. Plant Pathogens

The introduction of serious plant pathogens has been of long- standing concern to Florida agriculture. The number of plant pathogens and their vectors introduce into the United States increases steadily each year. These present an ever present threat to agriculture. 

Three federal statutes--the Animal Quarantine Act of 1903 = Plant Quarantine Act of 1912, and the Federal Plant Pest Act of 1957--and related state laws prohibit the importation and movement of plant pathogenic organisms, their vectors, and any articles that might harbor these organisms, except by occasional special permits. 

The introduction and dissemination of all hazardous or potentially hazardous plant pathogens or articles that may harbor these organisms into or within the State of Florida must be regulated or prohibited to ensure the protection of agriculture.

Any plant pathogenic organism in any living stage capable of reproduction that is requested for movement into or within the State of Florida for research studies or any purpose must be approved by the Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Chapter 581.083, Florida Statutes). The approval by the Division is based on recommendations from the Florida Plant Pathogen Introduction Committee and other pertinent reference sources the Division may choose to consult. 

General agricultural plant pathogens include: 

  •  Algae (parasitic or any parasitc plant) 
  • Rickettsia
  • Viroids
  • Bacteria 
  • Viruses
  • Fungi 
  • Nematodes 
  • Mycoplasmas

And any others to be designated

Any person wishing to introduce a plant pathogen into the State of Florida should make application on USDA PPQ Form 526 to: 


Division of Plant Industry 

P.0. Box 1269 

Gainesville, Florida 32602

Upon approval by the Division, the request will be referred to the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Division, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, which will issue a shipping permit to the applicant, if the request also meets with their approval. The shipping permit must be attached to the package containing the plant pest. 

Anyone wishing to send a plant pest (culture or other living stage) into another state should contact the regulatory official of that state's department of agriculture concerning the request. The name and address of the regulatory official of any state will be furnished upon request. 

If necessary, certain safety procedures will be established for the investigator to follow and will be periodically monitored by state and federal regulatory officials. 

If you have specific questions concerning the movement of plant pathogens interstate or internationally, you may wish to consult the following:

  • Staff Officer
  • District Director 
  • Regulatory Support
  • Plant Protection and Quarantine
  • Room 1524, Federal Building 
  • Room 635, Federal Building 
  • 51 SW First Avenue
  • Hyattsville, Maryland 20782 
  • Miami, Florida 33130