Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Risk Groups (RG-1 — RG-4)

  • Risk Groups are a means of classification of microorganisms based on their association with, and resulting severity of, infectious disease in humans.
  • The Risk Group of a biological agent should be one of a number of factors used in determining the appropriate Biosafety Level to be employed in working with that agent.
  • Risk Groups are not to be confused with Biosafety Levels. Often, the Risk Group of a microorganism used in research and the Biosafety Level at which that research is conducted have the same number, but not always. In some risk-prone circumstances, the Biosafety Level must be heightened for added protection from exposure/release.
  • NOTE: Risk Groups, as defined below, apply to healthy adults; immunocompromised individuals are more vulnerable to infectious disease and thus could be at greater risk if exposed.
  • Risk Groups, as described in the BMBL, 5th Ed., p. 10: