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Yerkes Center, OSHA Settle Death Case

In early December, Emory University in Atlanta agreed to pay $66,400 in fines and change its operating procedures in response to the December 1997 death of Elizabeth Griffin, a 22-year-old worker at its Yerkes Regional Primate Center. Griffin contracted herpes B virus, common in Old World macaques, when she was hit in the eye with fecal material, urine, or saliva while transferring a rhesus monkey to a cage.1 Though rare in humans, B virus is often lethal unless treated early with antiviral dru

Barry Palevitz

In early December, Emory University in Atlanta agreed to pay $66,400 in fines and change its operating procedures in response to the December 1997 death of Elizabeth Griffin, a 22-year-old worker at its Yerkes Regional Primate Center. Griffin contracted herpes B virus, common in Old World macaques, when she was hit in the eye with fecal material, urine, or saliva while transferring a rhesus monkey to a cage.1 Though rare in humans, B virus is often lethal unless treated early with antiviral drugs such as acyclovir. It was the only job-related death in Yerkes' history.


"We feel that prolonging the dispute further... would serve little purpose"

--Thomas Insel


In its original complaint last April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asked for more than $100,000 in fines for a number of infractions including a "willful safety and health violation." OSHA claimed that Yerkes didn't provide Griffin with "appropriate...

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