KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

CDC Says Scientists May Have Been Exposed To Anthrax

As many as 75 researchers in Atlanta may have come in contact with the live virus after workers failed to follow proper safety procedures. CDC says the risk of infection, however, is low.

The New York Times: C.D.C. Details Anthrax Scare For Scientists At Facilities
As many as 75 scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle dangerous pathogens, a spokesman for the federal health agency said Thursday. The agency was testing a new way to kill anthrax, which it discovered did not work as well as expected (Tavernise and McNeil, 6/19). 

Los Angeles Times: Anthrax: 75 CDC Workers Might Have Been Exposed To Pathogen
About 75 staff members at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are being monitored or given antibiotics after they were potentially exposed to anthrax, the CDC announced. A failure to follow established safety practices caused the possible exposure, the agency said Thursday in a statement, adding that it believed the risk of infection was very low and that nobody else was at risk of exposure (Raab, 6/19). 

The Wall Street Journal: CDC Lab Scientists May Have Been Exposed To Live Anthrax
Potentially exposed staff are being given antibiotics and monitored for symptoms of infection, the CDC said in a statement. "Based on most of the potential exposure scenarios, the risk of infection is very low," it said. It said there is no risk to other CDC staff or the general public (McKay, 6/19). 

The Washington Post: CDC Says About 75 Scientists May Have Been Exposed To Anthrax
The potential exposure took place after researchers failed to follow adequate protection procedures to inactivate anthrax samples at one CDC lab in Atlanta before transferring them to three other CDC labs not equipped to handle live anthrax bacteria, the statement said. Workers at those three labs, believing the samples were inactivated, were not wearing adequate personal protective equipment while handling the material (Sun, 6/19). 

Politico: CDC Reports Anthrax Exposure At Lab, No Known Illness
Dozens of scientists at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed this month to live anthrax bacteria, the agency announced Thursday. As many as seven researchers in a high-level biosecurity lab at the CDC campus may have been put at risk after failing to follow procedures to inactivate the bacteria. Their error was compounded when the samples were sent to three lower-security labs not equipped to handle live anthrax, where unknowing workers didn’t wear adequate protective gear while handling the material (Levine, 6/19). 

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