August 16, 2014

WELL, THIS INSPIRES CONFIDENCE: Report: CDC scientist kept quiet about flu blunder.

A government scientist kept silent about a potentially dangerous lab blunder and revealed it only after workers in another lab noticed something fishy, according to an internal investigation.

The accident happened in January at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. A lab scientist accidently mixed a deadly strain of bird flu with a tamer strain, and sent the mix to another CDC lab and to an outside lab in Athens, Georgia.

No one was sickened by bird flu. But unsuspecting scientists worked with the viral mix for months before it was discovered.

CDC officials have called the incident the most worrisome in a series of lab safety problems at the government agency, long regarded as one of the most respected public health agencies in the world. Earlier this summer, a lab mishandled anthrax samples and both the bird flu and anthrax labs were shut down.

“We all feel horrible this happened,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, who oversees the CDC’s Influenza Division, which includes the lab where the bird flu accident took place.

Yeah, well, I don’t feel so good about it myself.