CDC Reports Five Incidents Of Pathogen Mishandling In Past Decade
July 11, 2014

UPDATE: The CDC reports at least two of the vials found earlier this week contain live smallpox.

You can't keep starving government and expect that we have enough people to do this kind of work properly. You just can't, and President Obama should be screaming that from the rooftops instead of looking for compromise:

Federal government laboratories in Atlanta improperly sent highly dangerous pathogens, including anthrax, potentially lethal botulism bacteria, and deadly bird flu virus to other laboratories in five separate incidents in the past decade, officials said Friday.

The incidents, which raise troubling questions about the federal government’s ability to safely store and transport potentially deadly pathogens, prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt operations at two labs and impose a moratorium on biological material leaving multiple labs at its Atlanta headquarters.

“These events should never have happened,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a call with reporters. The American people “may be wondering whether we’re doing what we need to do to keep them safe and to keep our workers safe,” he said. “I’m disappointed and frankly I’m angry about it.”

The CDC disclosed the incidents in a report Friday detailing safety lapses that occurred last month ,when as many as 84 workers may have been exposed to live anthrax after employees unknowingly sent live samples of the bacteria from one CDC lab to other CDC labs.

As part of its internal investigation, the CDC found that “this is not the first time an event of this nature has occurred,” according to the report. “At the time of this writing, CDC is aware of four other such incidents in the past decade.”

Frieden said most distressing was the discovery Wednesday that on March 13, shipments of “highly pathogenic” H5N1 influenza virus were inappropriately sent from the CDC to a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Georgia. It took six weeks for staff to report the discovery.

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