Special Pathogen Testing

The Special Pathogen Laboratory tests for infectious agents that can be endemic to South Dakota but are rarely seen in a clinical laboratory setting. These agents are tested in a biosafety level 3 laboratory due to their ability to be transmitted via the aerosol route.

The South Dakota Public Health Laboratory is a LRN-B reference laboratory and performs testing of environmental and/or clinical specimens for the following organisms:

  • Bacillus anthracis*
  • Brucella spp.*
  • Burkholderia mallei & Burkholderia pseudomallei**
  • Francisella tularensis*
  • Yersinia pestis*
  • Ricin toxin (environmental only)
  • MERS-CoV
  • Ebola
  • Orthopoxvirus
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, these organisms are considered to be Select Agents because of their potential use as bioterrorism agents.

Learn About Bioterrorism

If your laboratory cannot rule out the presence of a Select Agent, send the isolate to the South Dakota Public Health Laboratory in Pierre for confirmatory testing. Contact the special pathogen laboratory, 605-773-3368, before shipping isolates and/or clinical specimens.

Print Resources

Biothreat Agent Bench Cards for the Sentinel Laboratory

Biothreat Agent Poster

Misidentification of biothreat agents by automated instruments

Training Opportunities

CDC Train