Most biological agents outside a host organism have brief hazardous time spans often measured in hours or days. Therefore, in objects, a historic pathogen such as plague is unlikely.
Techniques to prevent deterioration, e.g. spirit preservation and processing of animal skins, eliminate biological agents from infected tissues.
However, some objects could be a potential source of surviving biological agents:
- Archaeology – excavations of burials where soft tissue is well preserved.
- Contemporary art – recent artworks made with human body fluids.
- Social history – contaminated food.
Biological agents can contaminate objects in standing water or covered with dirt, bird guano or rodent droppings.