Head of Lab Involved in Anthrax Mishap Resigns
the MPR take:
Following multiple infractions including incidents involving anthrax and H5N1 exposure, the head of the Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michael Farrell, has voluntarily resigned. CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden is currently recruiting experts to improve safety measures at the CDC. The bioterrorism and flu labs have been closed by Dr. Frieden during the investigation. Shipments of infectious pathogens from the highest-security labs have been stopped as well. In June 2014, dozens of CDC lab workers were thought to be exposed to anthrax after samples from a higher level lab were not adequately inactivated before reaching the lower level lab. None of the staffers had fallen ill; however, the mishap led to investigators uncovering other lapses in safety. In the H5N1 bird flu incident, lab workers accidentally contaminated an H9N2 sample with the more dangerous H5N1 strain while preparing the shipment to be sent to the an Agriculture Department lab.
The leader of the federal bioterrorism lab in which careless procedures may have exposed dozens of workers to live anthrax resigned, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. Michael Bell, who is leading the agency's investigation into that incident and another involving a sample contaminated with lethal H5N1 flu, said in an interview last week that they were looking closely at how the lab was run.
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