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Classical Swine Fever Biological Agent Reference Sheet (BARS)

Updated December 4th, 2023
Disclaimer: Risk group, biosafety level, and all other precautions noted here are subject to change after a risk assessment by EHS.


Agent Type Risk Group Biosafety Level Animal Housing Biosafety Level



Agent Characteristics 

Risk Group: RG-1, not associated with disease in healthy adult 

Agent Type: Virus

Description: Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) is a small, enveloped RNA virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae family. CSFV is commonly referred to as “hog cholera” and can infect domestic swine and wild suids. The disease does not pose a risk to human health. Direct contact and indirect contact are the two modes of transmission for CSFV. Clinical presentation of the virus can range from subclinical infection to severe hemorrhagic disease in pigs. The disease can be found in Asia, Central and South America, Europe and Africa. 

Host Range: All varieties of Sus scrofa (domestic and wild), wild boar

Host Shedding: Blood, feces, urine, direct contact, saliva

Route of Exposure to Humans: This disease does not pose a threat to human health

Infectious Dose: Not applicable                                Incubation Period: In swine, 2-14 days

Health Hazards

This disease does not pose a threat to human health.

Agent Viability 

Survival Outside Host Disinfection Inactivation

Moderately fragile and does not persist in the environment. The virus is sensitive to drying and ultraviolet light but can survive for up to 4 weeks in cold conditions. It can persist in decomposing blood and bone marrow for 15 days.  

Susceptible to ether, chloroform, ß-propiolactone (0.4%)

Inactivated by chlorine-based disinfectants cresol (5%), sodium hydroxide (2%), formalin (1%), sodium carbonate (4% anhydrous or 10% crystalline, with 0.1% detergent), ionic and non-ionic detergents, and strong iodophors (1%) in phosphoric acid. 

Heat inactivated by 65.5ºC for 30 minutes or 71ºC for 1 minute

pH inactivated <3.0 or >11.0 in serum-free medium. 

For more guidance on disinfection see: disinfectant selection.

Laboratory Hazards 

  • High energy-creating activities (centrifugation, sonication, high pressure systems, vortexing, tube cap popping) 
  • Handling of sharps (needles, scalpels, microtome blades, broken glass, etc.) 
  • Splash/droplet-creating activities (shaking incubators, liquid culturing, mechanical pipetting) 
  • Equipment contamination
  • Exposed skin/uncovered wounds 

Laboratory Acquired Infection (LAI) History: Not applicable

Laboratory Handling Guidelines 

Laboratory Biosafety Level (BSL): BSL-3

Training Lab Engineering Controls Personal Protective Equipment
  • Closed toed shoes and long pants 

  • Single gloves 

  • Additional gloves 

  • Disposable solid front gown 

  • Additional mucous membrane protection

  • Disposable outer sleeves

  • Respiratory protection

Waste Management: Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)

Shipping Guidance: Refer to EHS Biological Materials Shipping 

Animal Vivarium Guidance

Animal Housing Biosafety Level (ABSL): ABSL-3

Biosecurity Measures: fences, restricted visitor access, good hygiene, disinfection of footwear or the use of dedicated footwear, closed herds, quarantine of new animals, and other measures help prevent CSFV introduction onto farms of domesticated pigs. Contact with domestic pigs should be avoided, allowing a 5-day interval between hunting wild boars and being in contact with domestic pigs.  

Exposure and Spill Procedures 

Mucous Membranes: Flush eyes, mouth, or nose for 15 minutes at an eyewash station. See: responding to exposures.

Other Exposures: Wash with soap and water for 15 minutes (open wounds, sores, etc.) or a minimum of 20 seconds for areas with intact skin. 

Small Spills: Notify others working in the lab. Don appropriate PPE. For spills involving fecal material, cover area of the spill with paper towels, working from the perimeter toward the center, use the paper towels to remove the spill and associated organic material. Discard contaminated paper towels. For spills involving fecal material and all other spills apply (or re-apply) 6% hydrogen peroxide on the spill site, Allow 20 minutes of contact time. After 20 minutes use paper towels to remove the 6% hydrogen peroxide. See: spill cleanup.

Large Spills: Request assistance from the EHS Spill Team by calling CUPD dispatch. Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone.

Incident Reporting: Immediately report the incident to supervisor and complete the EHS online injury/illness report as soon as possible.

Medical Follow-Up:

  • For students, seek medical attention at Cornell Health or local primary care provider. Call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 (24-hour phone consultation line) or a local urgent care. 
  • For faculty and staff, seek medical evaluation with a local primary care provider or urgent care. Cornell Health does not see employees for post-exposure care. 
  • Emergencies: Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone. 
Cornell EHS would like to thank Emory University for the use of their Biological Agent Reference Sheet (BARS) format and some content. 

More Information


  1. CDC. (2009). Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.
  2. Brown, V. R., & Bevins, S. N. (2018, March 5). A review of classical swine fever virus and routes of introduction into the United States and the potential for virus establishment. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Vol. 5.
  3. OIE. (2019). Classical Swine Fever (hog cholera). 
  4. Spickler, Anna Rovid. 2015. Classical Swine Fever.