Why are they hazardous?

Biohazards have the potential to cause illness and spread disease in people who are significantly exposed to them. In the context of museum objects, exposure can occur through the transmission of a viable biological agent from an object to a person during object handling. The routes of exposure for biological agents include inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin, eyes or mucous membranes.

People who are at most risk may include those with pre-existing health conditions and anyone with a weakened or compromised immune systems – for example, when they are recovering from a medical operation.