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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 90. Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control
6/26/2022

12VAC5-90-280. Reporting of dangerous microbes and pathogens.

A. Definitions. The following words and terms when used in this part shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Biologic agent" means any microorganism (including, but not limited to, bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae, or protozoa), or infectious substance, or any naturally occurring, bioengineered, or synthesized component of any such microorganism or infectious substance, capable of causing death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or other living organism; deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any kind; or deleterious alteration of the environment.

"CDC" means the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Diagnosis" means the analysis of specimens for the purpose of identifying or confirming the presence or characteristics of a select agent or toxin, provided that such analysis is directly related to protecting the public health or safety.

"Proficiency testing" means a sponsored, time-limited analytical trial whereby one or more analytes, previously confirmed by the sponsor, are submitted to the testing laboratory for analysis and where final results are graded, scores are recorded and provided to participants, and scores for participants are evaluated.

"Responsible official" means any person in charge of directing or supervising a laboratory conducting business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. At colleges and universities, the responsible official shall be the president of the college or university or his designee. At private, state, or federal organizations, the responsible official shall be the laboratory director or a chief officer of the organization or his designee.

"Select agent or toxin" or "select agent and toxin" means all those biological agents or toxins as defined by federal regulations in 42 CFR Part 73, including Health and Human Services select agents and toxins and overlap select agents and toxins.

"Toxin" means the toxic material or product of plants, animals, microorganisms (including but not limited to bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae, or protozoa); or infectious substances; or a recombinant or synthesized molecule, whatever the origin and method of production; and includes any poisonous substance or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology or produced by a living organism; or any poisonous isomer or biological product, homolog, or derivative of such a substance.

"Verification" means the process required to assure the accuracy, precision, and the analytical sensitivity and specificity of any procedure used for diagnosis.

B. Administration. The dangerous microbes and pathogens will be known as "select agents and toxins." The select agent and toxin registry will be maintained by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology, Division of Surveillance and Investigation.

C. Reportable agents. The board declares the select agents and toxins and overlap select agents and toxins outlined in 42 CFR Part 73 to be reportable and adopts it herein by reference including subsequent amendments and editions. The select agents and toxins are to be reportable by the persons enumerated in subsection F of this section.

D. Items to report. Each report shall be made on a form determined by the department and shall contain the following: name, source and characterization information on select agents and toxins and quantities held; objectives of the work with the agent; location (including building and room) where each select agent or toxin is stored or used; identification information of persons with access to each agent; identification information of the person in charge of each of the agents; and the name, position and identification information of one responsible official as a single point of contact for the organization. The report shall also indicate whether the laboratory is registered with the CDC Select Agent Program and may contain additional information as required by 42 CFR Part 73 or the department.

E. Timing of reports. Reports shall be made to the department within seven calendar days of submission of an application to the CDC Select Agent Program. By January 31 of every year, laboratories shall provide a written update to the department, which shall include a copy of the federal registration certificate received through the CDC Select Agent Program.

In the event that a select agent or toxin that has previously been reported to the department is destroyed, a copy of federal forms addressing the destruction of the select agent or toxin must be submitted to the department within seven calendar days of submission to the CDC Select Agent Program.

In the event that a select agent or toxin, or a specimen or isolate from a specimen containing a select agent or toxin, has previously been reported to the department and is subsequently transferred to a facility eligible for receiving the items, a copy of federal forms addressing the transfer of the select agent or toxin must be submitted to the department within seven calendar days of submission to the CDC Select Agent Program.

In the event of a suspected release, loss, or theft of any select agent or toxin, the responsible official at a laboratory shall make a report to the department immediately by the most rapid means available, preferably by telephone. The rapid report shall be followed up by a written report within seven calendar days and shall include the following information:

1. The name of the biologic agent and any identifying information (e.g., strain or other characterization information);

2. An estimate of the quantity released, lost, or stolen;

3. An estimate of the time during which the release, loss, or theft occurred; and

4. The location (building, room) from or in which the release, loss, or theft occurred. The report may contain additional information as required by 42 CFR Part 73 or the department.

The department shall be notified in writing of any change to information previously submitted to the department. If a new application or an amendment to an existing application is filed with the CDC Select Agent Program, a copy of the application or amendment shall be submitted to the department within seven calendar days of submission to the CDC Select Agent Program.

F. Those required to report. The laboratory director shall be responsible for annual reporting of select agents and toxins to the Virginia Department of Health and for the reporting of any changes within the time periods as specified within these regulations. Such reports shall be made on forms to be determined by the department. Any person making such reports as authorized herein shall be immune from liability as provided by § 32.1-38 of the Code of Virginia.

G. Exemption from reporting. A person who detects a select agent or toxin for the purpose of diagnosing a disease, verification, or proficiency testing and either transfers the specimens or isolates containing the select agent or toxin to a facility eligible for receiving them or destroys them on site is not required to make a report except as required by 12VAC5-90-80 and 12VAC5-90-90. Proper destruction of the agent shall take place through autoclaving, incineration, or by a sterilization or neutralization process sufficient to cause inactivation. The transfer or destruction shall occur within seven calendar days after identification of a select agent or toxin used for diagnosis or testing and within 90 calendar days after receipt for proficiency testing.

Any additional exemptions from reporting under 42 CFR Part 73, including subsequent amendments and editions, are also exempt from reporting under this regulation; however, the department shall be notified of the exemption by submitting a copy of federal forms addressing the exemption within seven calendar days of submission to the CDC Select Agent Program.

H. Release of reported information. Reports submitted to the select agent and toxin registry shall be confidential and shall not be a public record pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, regardless of submitter. Release of information on select agents or toxins shall be made only by order of the State Health Commissioner to the CDC and state and federal law-enforcement agencies in any investigation involving the release, theft, or loss of a select agent or toxin required to be reported to the department under this regulation.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-35 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 21, eff. July 28, 2004; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 15, eff. May 2, 2007; Volume 33, Issue 2, eff. October 20, 2016.

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