Updated 02.09.2015


Biological warfare agents can be in the form of powder or drops, but it might also be the case that a substance without any visibility or scent is spread through the water, food supply or the air. In Denmark there has never been an attack or intentional release with biological warfare agents, but there are regularly alarms where the Police contact CBB in relation to suspicious materials.

When such incidents occur, CBB carries out a threat analysis and, if necessary, deploys a Field Investigation Team to take samples and investigate the situation further.


Personal precaution measures

Most biological warfare agents do not transmit from person to person, and no biological warfare agents are infectious in the incubation period, i.e. before there are disease symptoms. Thus, it is sufficient to take a thorough bath and change clothes before persons are able to leave an area where there has been a possible biological incident. The emergency services will provide assistance in this context.

The Police and health inspectors will provide information regarding samples and whether treatment is necessary.


  • If you have been in contact with suspicious materials you must register with the Police at the scene of the incident so the authorities can get in contact with you when the results of the analyses are ready. The health inspectors will inform you which steps should be taken if you get symptoms or feel ill before the results of the analyses are ready.
  • Obvious symptoms will not appear on exposed persons. The time from exposure to a potential disease outbreak can be from several hours to two weeks.
  • Symptoms may include fatigue, fever, nausea, vomit, coughing, paralysis of the face, problems breathing, rashes, wounds, and loss of conscience.

If you do get symptoms after exposure of, for example, a letter containing powder, the most likely reason is that it is a simple infectious disease, as for example a cold, chicken pox, or a common flu and not related to the letter. However to be on the safe side please call the health inspectors.

Contact us

Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness 
Statens Serum Institut

5 Artillerivej
DK-2300 Copenhagen S

Telefon: +45 32688127
Email: cbb@ssi.dk