Feces and Urine-Human Biological Agent Reference Sheets (BARS)
|Agent Type||Risk Group||Biosafety Level||Animal Housing Biosafety Level|
Risk Group: RG-2 associated with human disease, rarely serious; preventive or therapeutic interventions often available.
Agent Type: Biohazard
Description: Human fecal material may contain a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Pathogens potentially present in human feces include Bacterioides spp., Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, Aeromonas, Candida, E. coli 0157:H7, Klebsiella, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, viruses including Norovirus and Hepatitis A, and intestinal parasites. Additionally, visible blood in feces may indicate the presence of bloodborne pathogens including HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Human urine is typically not hazardous. It can be potentially hazardous if there is visible blood or if originating from an individual with a urinary tract infection. As such, urine should be treated with universal precautions.
Host Range: Varies Host Shedding: Feces, Urine (with visible blood)
Route of Exposure to Humans: Direct Contact, Mucous Membranes, Animal Bites, Ingestion, Percutaneous
Infectious Dose: Varies Incubation Period: Varies
Signs and symptoms of infection will vary.
Immunizations: Available, depending on agent Prophylaxis*: Available, depending on the agent
*Formal medical advice is obtained during medical consultations with Cornell Health or primary healthcare provider as needed.
|Survival Outside Host||Disinfection|
Fecal material can harbor various pathogens for a number of days or weeks, depending on the pathogens present. Good disinfection practices and hygiene are critical.
1:10 Bleach Dilution
For more guidance on disinfection see: disinfectant selection.
- 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: One case of giardiasis was reported in a clinical laboratory technologist who processed specimens, many of which were in leaky containers. One case of Isospora belli infection occurred in a technologist who examined numerous stool specimens from a patient infected with I. belli. Occupational illnesses associated with direct handling of fecal material are not well tracked in the literature, whereas specific pathogen-related infections are.
Laboratory Handling Guidelines
Laboratory Biosafety Level (BSL): BSL-2
|Training||Lab Engineering Controls||Personal Protective Equipment|
Waste Management: Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)
Shipping Guidance: Refer to EHS Biological Materials Shipping
Animal Vivarium Guidance
Animal Housing Biosafety Level (ABSL): ABSL-2
Animal Biosecurity: Information not available.
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. See: responding to exposures.
Small Spills: Notify others working in the lab. Evacuate area and allow 30 minutes for aerosols to settle. Don appropriate PPE. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply disinfectant, working from the perimeter toward the center. Allow 30 minutes of contact time before disposal and cleanup of spill materials. 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.
- 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.
Mermel LA, Allon M, Bouza E, et al. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Intravascular Catheter-Related Infection: 2009 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2009;49(1):1-45.
- Stool Specimens – Safety. DPDx - Laboratory Identification of Parasitic Diseases of Public Health Concern. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Diseases Involving Sewage. Indiana State Department of Health.