Mike Coston at Avian Flu Diary writes: CDC Announces Another Serious Biosecurity Incident. Click through for the full post and many links. Excerpt:
It’s been a bad summer for US government labs, with two high profile biosecurity incidents involving `select agents’ – the most dangerous types of pathogens – reported over the past couple of weeks.
First, there was the potential anthrax exposure incident (see CDC Statement On Possible Lab Exposure To Anthrax), reported on June 19th, followed last week by the discovery of several vials of unsecured smallpox at an FDA lab in Bethesda, Md. (see CDC Media Statement on Newly Discovered Smallpox Specimens).
Today during a hastily called press conference, a visibly concerned CDC director Thomas Frieden announced a third incident – the accidental shipment of H5N1 contaminated samples to a USDA lab roughly six weeks ago – that was only just reported to the CDC’s senior management a couple of days ago.
Dr. Frieden also announced that at least two of the above mentioned smallpox vials contained viable virus, a bit of a surprise given its age (60 years) and storage environment.
The western health community has been rightly critical of poor infection control in countries like Saudi Arabia, as well as conditions in its own hospitals that result in persistent problems like MRSA and norovirus.