Haste Caused CDC Bird Flu Contamination?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist who accidentally leaked H5N1 into a benign strain of avian influenza may have been rushing off to a meeting.

By | August 19, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, AZTAn internal report released yesterday (August 18) by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the researcher responsible for the contamination of a relatively benign H9N2 bird flu strain with the deadly H5N1 was overworked and in a rush to attend a lab meeting, factors that likely contributed to the mistake. The report also notes that the accident most likely occurred in mid-January, though the contamination was not discovered until months later, after US Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers who had received an H9N2 sample from the CDC reported that their test chickens died. The incident was made public by CDC Director Thomas Frieden in July in the wake of other high-profile lab safety lapses.

The incident is “unacceptable,” CDC’s Anne Schuchat, director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told USA Today. “We just don’t think shortcuts are permissible when working with these kinds of dangerous pathogens.”

According to the report, the researcher did not follow proper decontamination protocols while working with both bird flu strains under the same biosafety cabinet. In addition to a lab meeting at noon that the researcher was rushing to, he or she was also dealing with a “heavy workload” as the group worked to prepare data for a World Health Organization vaccine meeting in February.

The H9N2 sample was sent to the USDA on March 12, and word of the contamination made it back to the CDC on May 23, a delay that may have resulted “in part from unclear CDC rules for reporting incidents with select agents,” ScienceInsider reported.


Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Henrietta Lacks’s Family Seeks Compensation
  2. Broad Wins CRISPR Patent Interference Case
    Daily News Broad Wins CRISPR Patent Interference Case

    The USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board has ruled in favor of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard retaining intellectual property rights covered by its patents for CRISPR gene-editing technology.

  3. Humans Never Stopped Evolving
    Features Humans Never Stopped Evolving

    The emergence of blood abnormalities, an adult ability to digest milk, and changes in our physical appearance point to the continued evolution of the human race.

  4. Abundant Sequence Errors in Public Databases
Business Birmingham