Second Report Details More Safety Lapses At CDC

Jul 15, 2014

Laboratories at the CDC work with dangerous pathogens such as anthrax.
Credit CDC

  A second investigation into the possible anthrax exposure at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed more safety problems.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Monday revealed CDC employees used expired disinfectants and transferred dangerous germs in Ziploc bags. It found anthrax strains were stored in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted area, and that some employees who may have been exposed weren’t examined for five days.

Additionally, the report found the CDC’s health clinic was not prepared to respond to the exposure of dozens of employees on its campus.

Those findings were given to a congressional subcommittee ahead of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Agency Director Dr. Tom Frieden is scheduled to testify.

CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner said the USDA report revealed some safety lapses previously unknown, including how the anthrax had been stored.

“We have to address what may be a sort of a culture issue here to make sure that proper procedures are in place and that they’re being followed,” Skinner said.  

The report focused on the incident last month in which around 80 employees were potentially exposed to anthrax.

The findings follow a report by the CDC released last week, which detailed safety lapses at two high-security labs. In response, the CDC has issued a moratorium on sending biological from its highest security labs.