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Biocontainment Unit

BCU facility

Welcome to the Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit (BCU)

The BCU is a state of the art facility designed to care for patients with highly infectious diseases such as Ebola. The unit is the result of an intense multidisciplinary and collaborative effort that involved experts from across the Johns Hopkins Health System and from around the world.  The BCU is staffed by dedicated providers with special training in infection control and can provide care for up to 3 patients in an environment that ensures the safety of healthcare workers, patients and their families. When not active for patient care, the BCU will serve as a site for research and training for high consequence pathogens such as Ebola, SARS, MERS CoV and highly drug resistant tuberculosis.

News Update

View the latest updates and events related to BCU on Medicine Matters.

Date:04/20/2017 - The BCU team and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) partnered together to develop and film a protocol for deceased patients with high consequence pathogens. Filmed on the BCU with BCU staff, the video will be shared with Maryland state partners to train clinical provider teams to safely manage a deceased patient. The video can be viewed at:

Date:02/03/2017 - The BCU has partnered with the Berman Institute of Bioethics to help form the Center for Bridging Infectious Disease, Genomics, and Society (BRIDGES). The center is funded through a Center of Excellence in ELSI Research (CEER) grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The goal of BRIDGES is ensure that the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of novel innovations in technology are considered when making clinical and public health decisions. The BCU will specifically focus on how new developments in host and pathogen genomics impact decision making in the context of high consequence pathogens such as Ebola. 

Date:12/21/2016 - A team of researchers from The Johns Hopkins Hospital Biocontainment Unit, including Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System, and Brian Garibaldi, M.D., the associate medical director for The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Biocontainment Unit, published a manuscript in December in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. In their research, they found that factory default settings on the steam sterilizer used to decontaminate patient waste from the hospital’s Biocontainment Unit are potentially ineffective. The lessons learned from this study could inform waste management protocols to ensure effective sterilization.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital was selected as the Ebola and Other Special Pathogens Center for Region 3 by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). This federal designation makes the BCU one of 10 national centers with the capacity to handle high consequence pathogens in a safe and controlled environment. Learn more.

Biocontainment Unit Virtual Tour

The new, state-of-the-art Biocontainment Unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital is prepared to safely care for adult and pediatric patients with highly infectious diseases, without compromising the health and safety of other patients, families and care teams.

Building a Biocontainment Unit

A new, state-of-the-art Biocontainment Unit was constructed at The Johns Hopkins Hospital to safely treat adult and pediatric patients with Ebola virus disease and other highly infectious diseases. When the unit does not have patients, it will be used for education, training and research on infectious diseases.