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CDC Closes Anthrax, Flu Labs After Potentially Deadly Mix-Ups Come to Light

timothy posted about two weeks ago | from the try-the-new-super-vaccine dept.

Medicine 89

In the wake of two potentially deadly accidents, the CDC yesterday announced the temporary closure of both the anthrax and flu research labs at the agency's Atlanta headquarters. The New York Times reports: In one episode last month, at least 62 C.D.C. employees may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle them. Employees not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been. All were offered a vaccine and antibiotics, and the agency said it believed no one was in danger. “We have a high degree of confidence that no one was exposed,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the C.D.C. director. Credit David Goldman/Associated Press In a second accident, disclosed Friday, a C.D.C. lab accidentally contaminated a relatively benign flu sample with a dangerous H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed 386 people since 2003. Fortunately, a United States Agriculture Department laboratory realized that the strain was more dangerous than expected and alerted the C.D.C. ... The anthrax and flu labs will remain closed until new procedures are imposed, Frieden said. For the flu lab, that will be finished in time for vaccine preparation for next winter’s flu season, he said.

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89 comments

So will there be criminal charges? (3, Insightful)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47440363)

That is what should happen surely?

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440381)

No, but they will probably make the TSA security even more harsh. Because... oh well... the terrorists!

Re: So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440397)

Only if you can prove a responsible party.

Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to find irresponsible ones. Like Congress.

Responsible party? (4, Interesting)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47441301)

In British law we have the slightly perverse sight of government instutition being charged in their own right - without the need to identify an individual. The outcome is fines paid by one part of government to another, but it does focus the leadership to get it right (my own police force has at least one conviction for health and safety violations arising from the death of police office).

Re:Responsible party? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about two weeks ago | (#47441735)

The outcome is fines paid by one part of government to another, but it does focus the leadership to get it right

Or discourage reporting any incidents. If losing a container of Anthrax means you get punished, then you have strong incentives to not tell anyone and hope you'll find it, rather than rise alarm and put the place in a lockdown.

Re:Responsible party? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about two weeks ago | (#47441839)

Only if you're damn sure that no one will find out. If they do, then the fines are a lot larger and it just takes one disgruntled former employee to report the incident...

Re:Responsible party? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47442567)

Why would it discourage reporting? If you are senior enough you do the normal Pr route of a meaningless apology, fire some Junior scapegoat and its all forgotten in next weeks scandal. If you are unlucky then you get kicked upstairs to some other position on a higher pension rate for the rest of your career.

That's how the old boy network works in the UK old bean.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440445)

Unrelated sure but I just don't understand this. How come there are Polynesians but there are no Mononesians? I mean how can you have one without the other? Seems kinda arbitrary to me...

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (2)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about two weeks ago | (#47440527)

Because the word "Polynesian" means "many islands" in its Greek derivative. An apt description of a common people's who migrated bravely across miles of ocean to populate a host of islands.

Information easily obtained from the web also...

Unless it was a tongue in cheek joke...in which case a bad one.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440665)

Because the word "Polynesian" means "many islands" in its Greek derivative. An apt description of a common people's who migrated bravely across miles of ocean to populate a host of islands. Information easily obtained from the web also... Unless it was a tongue in cheek joke...in which case a bad one.

i prefer nigger jokes myself. that torrent you hear in teh distance is thousands of white-guilt libtards wetting their beds. by taking it so damn serious they give that word more power than anybody.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about two weeks ago | (#47446457)

Then you are a sad and pathetic human being too simple minded to even begin to process it due to the brain damage that prevents you from honest introspection. I honestly pity you.

My ancestry contains native NZ Maori hence my interest. Maori are essentially Polynesian descendants who became a separate ethnic group in their own right. There is debate as to which of the islands in particular the first Maori migrated from.

 

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47451897)

what is sadder and more pathetic? that you were taught to let your emotions get inflammed over the mere use of a word and haven't the inward introspection to question this puppet-string that anybody can pull? or that i decide not to take it seriously because i think if people learned to laugh at such words and at our differences than maybe we could all stop fighting about them?

like i said, the more offended you get and the more seriously you take these words the more negative power you give to them. just hand over that power, instead of using it to better yourself and mankind. yeah that's a fine strategy from the one that calls me pathetic. amazing how people will cling to and defend and never question their instilled social norms aka childhood brainwashing. you were taught these things before you had the ability to think critically about them. doesn't mean you cannot do that now.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about two weeks ago | (#47455201)

Lol. My emotions are not at all inflamed in the slightest. Typically i just ignore such but occasionally like to indulge. Please be aware (if you able) that my response was not in anyway for the benefit of the troll.

I am merely making a very accurate and insightful observation. One whose truth bites deeply apparently. So i will consider this a measure of success.

Neither of these posts were worthy of a response at all but again, sometimes i indulge.

And yes. This post is smug.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

quenda (644621) | about two weeks ago | (#47440907)

An apt description of a common people's who migrated bravely across miles of ocean to populate a host of islands.

And also to de-populate them. [wikipedia.org] Tough warriors, those guys.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about two weeks ago | (#47446471)

Polynesians tend to be physically larger and their culture's were warlike but that may have had more to do with scarcity of resources on tiny islands.

Although murder for gain is a human trait as evidenced by all of recorded history. We tend to call it by other names as well: Conquest, expansion, empire building, etc.

But in the end it almost always is just good old redrum.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about two weeks ago | (#47440881)

They started out as a Mononesian, then that one split to make 2 duonesians, then they split to make 4 quadnesians, and they split to make polynesians.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441903)

Gesundheit!

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (4, Insightful)

imidan (559239) | about two weeks ago | (#47440467)

Wouldn't it make more sense to perform an audit to ensure that this hasn't happened unnoticed in the past, and simultaneously to perform a review and revision of the protocols and policies that allowed this to happen? I feel like solving the problem is more important than assigning blame. I mean, I can see firing someone if they had acted from gross incompetence, but I don't think prison is necessary.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

djupedal (584558) | about two weeks ago | (#47440543)

'solving the problem' is what you do when someone on staff forgets to order more staples.

Repeatedly risking human lives is ripe for blame, don't you think?

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440567)

Maybe so. But was it the same guy who caused both of these things to happen? Is their timing coincidental, or is there a systemic cause? Maybe the political reality is that someone needs to be fired, and I can understand that, but I'm more interested in making sure that we minimize the risk of this happening again by identifying and addressing the systemic causes.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (2)

sjames (1099) | about two weeks ago | (#47441481)

You would rather punish someone than make sure this doesn't happen again? Why?

If you want people to be open and honest about how things are actually being done so you can find out where the problem lies, you cannot also be playing the blame game.

Beyond that, where is the criminal intent? Do you allege that some psychopath is deliberately endangering lives for a laugh?

Interesting argument (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47441987)

The problem, of course, is that if there is no meaningful accountability, then there's no incentive to get it right. UK unions are attempting to get a named company director liable for health and safety violations to encourage compliance, but the reality is that it's so difficult to do that the outcome is liable to be that nobody would accept the job. By contrast the National Health Service is trying to encourage 'no blame' reporting of errors, but there the ambulance chasing lawyers turn up and make it undesirable to admit errors for a different reason Thanks for making me think!

Re:Interesting argument (2)

sjames (1099) | about two weeks ago | (#47442289)

In cases with potentially dire consequences, I suspect people will be careful even if they don't believe they will be held accountable. In other cases, it may be too easy to rationalize that nothing bad will actually happen (often true of things like workplace safety).

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441983)

In the context of this type of research, no. Look at the history of criticality incidents in nuclear research and resulting modifications to practice. Typically, they didn't file criminal charges. Instead, they went back and redesigned equipment to account for human error. Same reason most uni labs don't have solvent stills anymore...

Life is dangerous. Statistically speaking, it tends to kill far more people than just about any other activity you can engage it. ;)

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440709)

You think this is a mistake? It's a cover-up. Look for what's really going on behind the media facade.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47442361)

Son, with that attitude you will never get you elected.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47443715)

I think gross incompetence is implicitly assumed. Either by the individual(s) who didn't follow the procedure or by the individual(s) who wrote it up - maybe both.

Since this clearly involves safety it might be a good example of when incompetence can lead to prison.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about two weeks ago | (#47441093)

That is what should happen surely?

Only if someone is criminally culpable [wikipedia.org] . It's more likely to just be plain stupidity, which unfortunately cannot be prosecuted, even when it's a government official.

Huh? Ignorance is no defence (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47441359)

If the law has been broken, then it is always chargeable as a offence, even if it's as a result of stupidity not criminal intent. The alternative is that ignorance becomes an absolute defence, which makes no sense.

Re:Huh? Ignorance is no defence (1)

mysidia (191772) | about two weeks ago | (#47442857)

If the law has been broken, then it is always chargeable as a offence, even if it's as a result of stupidity not criminal intent.

This is incorrect; unless the particular act or omission rises to the level of criminal negligence, meeting the specific requirements of criminal negligence, then ignorance of the potential consequences of the act or omission is an absolute defense; if it is the case, then the act or omission cannot be a crime.

The waitress who delivers the poisoned drink to the patron is not liable for the murder, in case she was ignorant that the glass contained a poison.

It doesn't matter that she was leveraged in a murder. If she didn't know about the poison or the murder plan, then she doesn't have the criminal mind required for a charge of murder.

Differing meanings of 'ignorance'. (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47444173)

I accept your point which is well made. I was referring to ignorance of the regulations about a topic when fully aware of the facts. Telling the IRS you didn't know about a tax rule is generally not a successful strategy!

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about two weeks ago | (#47441173)

For what?

Unsafe storage of dangerous materials? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47441365)

I'm guessing that there are laws about such things...

Re:Unsafe storage of dangerous materials? (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about two weeks ago | (#47442851)

I'm guessing that there are laws about such things...

And there you have it. You're just guessing, and you have no idea whether a crime was committed. There was no suggestion in the article that any crime *was* committed. A search on "was cdc anthrax exposure a crime?" yielded no front page results even speculating on it.

Yet you took the time to *repeatedly* post the question of prosecution. Did you read the article? Did you do any search to answer your own question? I'm "guessing" no.

Having been a health and safty rep (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47444155)

I was confident that rules would exist. Two minutes playing on the OHSA website produced https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaw... [osha.gov] which lays out comprehensive requirements for biohazard materials. I would have been amazed if they hadn't existed - which is why I 'guessed'. Governments are often predictable!

Re:Having been a health and safty rep (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about two weeks ago | (#47445343)

No. Just no.

Remember what you actually wrote?

So will there be criminal charges?
That is what should happen surely?


You didn't inquire (excuse me, "enquire") about "rules" and how they apply, you wanted to know who is going to jail. And the CDC is governed by HHS. While OSHA rules probably apply to most CDC operations, oversight is by HHS, and the OIG (office of the inspector general).

The point is not whether there are "rules". Of course there are rules. The point is that your knee jerk reaction to a report of accidental mishandling of the materials was, "Who's going to be prosecuted?" Not only off point, but not even a sensible reaction to the incident.

Feel free to keep walking that back if you like.

To go back to the basics (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47447475)

The purpose of the criminal law is to protect the public from damage caused to people or their property as a result of the actions of another. The failure to deal correctly with these biohazards raises the prospect of serious damage to people. Therefore it is logical to invoke the criminal law to punish those who put people at risk of serious damage. If there are no consequences on the perpetrators of an offence, in the broadest terms, then there is every reason to expect people to do it again. The only question left is whether this is the BEST way to ensure future compliance / a safer society. This can be disputed - but that criminal sanctions should be seriously considered should be inevitable.

Re:To go back to the basics (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about two weeks ago | (#47479639)

Well, at least you've backed off claiming you were looking for the "rules", and that "the rules" should result in criminal prosecutions, when your interest from the beginning was in seeing someone prosecuted.

So you're focused squarely on the wrong point, but at least you're focused.

Congrats. I'm done wrestling the greased pig that is your supposed argument.

Re:So will there be criminal charges? (2)

gtall (79522) | about two weeks ago | (#47442151)

Ah, yes, someone fucked up, let the lawsuits begin. Woe betide the poor SOB who screws something up not by malice or incompetence but simply because s/he wasn't perfect all the time.

Let's turn the entire American economy and government into a sclerotic clusterfuck mimicking the patent mess that only lawyers can disentangle...for high hourly fees and changes that will benefit them to keep the gravy train rolling. All aboard!!

Mel Brooks handles it this way (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about two weeks ago | (#47440373)

As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes.

I found the video of live Anthrax (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440375)

Live Anthrax [youtube.com]

It looks a hell of lot more than 62 people, though.

I found the video of live Anthrax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440533)

You win the internet! Make sure you don't get Caught in a Mosh when you Got the Time.

Unforeseen consequences... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about two weeks ago | (#47440407)

Why am I reminded of the game: Halflife, level: Unforeseen consequences right now?

True (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441015)

But without the Headcrabs

Just to remind everybody... (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about two weeks ago | (#47440449)

"People that do stupid things with dangerous objects often die."

Re:Just to remind everybody... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441917)

"Hey y'all, watch this!"

Re:Just to remind everybody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441947)

Murphy's Incantation.

National security we can really get behind. (4, Informative)

rmdingler (1955220) | about two weeks ago | (#47440487)

The CDC has to study the dangerous types of virus, since they can be weaponized.

If you think mistakes and carelessness are rare with level four viruses, I recommend The Hot Zone by Richard Preston.

If you remember you have something to live for, it will keep you up nights.

Re:National security we can really get behind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440957)

I use to have this very problem, then I started taking Xanax. Someone could point a gun at me and I'd still be relaxed.

Big government at its worst! (5, Funny)

mark_reh (2015546) | about two weeks ago | (#47440529)

The handling of deadly disease agents should be privatized and put into the hands of industry as soon as possible! Let the free market solve the problem!

Re: Big government at its worst! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441233)

I have a friend that works at the influenza lab in question. From what I've been told... this is what happened. That the prep work was done by private sector before samples were handed off to the CDC. It was a poorly trained lab tech at the private company that screwed up the anthrax samples in question. (Second hand hearsay here though, so take with a grain of salt.)

When the CDC sneezes, everyone catches a cold (2)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about two weeks ago | (#47440569)

And then everyone dies.

Re:When the CDC sneezes, everyone catches a cold (1)

billstewart (78916) | about two weeks ago | (#47440965)

It's not the cold that kills you - it's the cure [google.com] for the common cold. And not everybody dies. Or stays dead.

CDC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440571)

They have no fucking business to be doing anything with anthrax except destroying this deadly shit. Let the brainless dickheads who authorized this research get a life sentence in jail. I'm so goddamned sick and tired of these fucking idiots with these deadly biological and chemical compounds whereever they are in this world.

Re: CDC (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440609)

I really, realy hope you aren't this stupid - anthrax spores can probably be cultured from the dirt in your backyard by any competent undergrad microbiology student.... sticking our head the sand and saying "LALALALALALALALA" works about as well in bacteriology as it does for global warming, the NSA, Wall Street corruption, etc.

Really hoping I've been Godwin-d.

Re:CDC (1)

sjames (1099) | about two weeks ago | (#47441507)

Alas, it exists in the wild and so the only way we can destroy it there is to study it in a lab.

Explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440605)

Why the hell is the USDA being given samples of flu from the CDC?

Explain to me (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about two weeks ago | (#47440859)

Re "Why the hell is the USDA being given samples of flu from the CDC?"
A lot of cash is/was sloshing around for eg. Department of Health and Human ServicesÃ(TM) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority: BARDA, Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, National Biodefence Analysis and Countermeasures Centre (NBACC) and Project BioShield.
Thats a lot of cool grants, funding, equipment, advancement and status within the US military industrial complex.
Every so often staff, the press and other governments like to comment on the signed international treaty obligations and labs that "test equipment", do "biosurveillance", "monitor pathogen outbreaks" or 'defend' or 'predict' using creative lab work.
e.g. that pesky 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)
To share the funding and escape any questions over decades a wide variety of fronts, funds and locations are used, some internationally.

Re:Explain to me (1)

sjames (1099) | about two weeks ago | (#47441513)

Agriculture includes animals that can transmit some strains of the flu. The most dangerous strains are those that have just jumped species.

Meanwhile, USDA knows more about pigs and chickens than the CDC.

Ah, "Close enough for government work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440619)

See subject. Says it all.

To the Shelter !!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440623)

Zombie apocalypse in 3...2..err

Re:To the Shelter !!! (1)

billstewart (78916) | about two weeks ago | (#47440969)

Mira Grant sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests you do the same.

Well ... (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about two weeks ago | (#47440643)

... thank goodness the Feds are taking ever larger roles in healthcare! Clearly, they know what they are doing.

Re:Well ... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about two weeks ago | (#47441189)

YOu mean when an issue came to light the immediately started working on it to see that it's fixed?

Yes, that is government system at work,

Why do idiots like you thing privatized health care doesn't have incidents? oh right, because private companies can hush it up where as government entities have to be far more open.

Had this been private company, do you think you would have heard of it?

Re:Well ... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about two weeks ago | (#47441871)

No, the heavy hand of government would have shut the private company down.

I will never understand people who like big government. What is your freaking deal? Do you hope to get in and control the rest of us? It ain't gonna happen, you're not an elite, otherwise you won't be wasting your time posting on Slashdot. The boot is going to stomp on your face just like everyone else's.

Re:Well ... (1)

gtall (79522) | about two weeks ago | (#47442175)

Yep, let's trust private companies with research into anthrax. You do realize that anthrax occurs naturally and can be weaponized?

And the healthcare system we have is considered the most expensive in the world with outcome behind other systems. This is the healthcare private industry has provided you. And if you manage to catch something that doesn't turn a profit, the only ones with any research on it are likely to be the CDC. So I'll be expecting you to reject any help from them when the Grim Reaper makes a call at your house (by the way, he likes his feet tickled).

Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (3, Funny)

Kardos (1348077) | about two weeks ago | (#47440647)

> Employees not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been.

So the employees didn't use protective gear during their work, and that got them slated for a killing? I can understand trying to contain an outbreak, but one would think they should have been quarantined and tested for infection before commencement with the killing. Who's in charge of this mickey mouse operation anyway?

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (2)

kybred (795293) | about two weeks ago | (#47441025)

> Employees not wearing protective gear worked with (bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been).

I've often wished that writers of the English language were required to use parenthesis to help with parsing.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47441913)

I've often wished that writers of the English language were required to use parenthesis to help with parsing.

In fact, that is the purpose of the comma, which is often incorrectly replaced with parentheses.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | about two weeks ago | (#47447221)

I've often wished that writers of the English language were required to use parenthesis to help with parsing.

In fact, that is the purpose of the comma, which is often incorrectly replaced with parentheses.

The comma operator could be overloaded, the parentheses operator can't be.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about two weeks ago | (#47450221)

In C++, you can overload parentheses, and that's often useful. You can overload the comma, also, but that's generally not a good idea, since the unmessed-with comma has different behavior than an overloaded comma operator.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (1)

mysidia (191772) | about two weeks ago | (#47441073)

So the employees didn't use protective gear during their work, and that got them slated for a killing?

They thought the samples they were working with were supposed to be specimens which had been killed and were no longer alive, so they got complacent and started letting technicians handle them without the proper gear and procedures strictly implemented to help ensure safety.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47442099)

That doesn't make for very entertaining news. It's clearly a coverup for zombie flu! ;) The nutters will have a field day with this one and their bugout bags.

Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about two weeks ago | (#47441437)

They just wanted to save the hassle of sending in the nukes. Do you know how much paperwork they make you sign for each obliterated virus outbreak these days? It's like initial this pdf to get the plane, sign that fuel requisition, assisinate two pesky reporters, on and on! I kid you not.

Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47454801)

I know you are, so to speak, acquiring the urine in your post, but it should be pointed out that the sentence you quoted is not actually ambiguous in the slightest. For one thing, typically clauses modify the thing they immediately follow, which here is "bacteria," not "employees." There is also a phrasal verb ("worked with") in between the subject ("employees") and the object of that verb ("bacteria"), so there really is no way to parse the sentence differently. Furthermore, it is not idiomatic in standard English to refer to "employees that"; employees (like corporations!) are people, so it would have to be "employees who."

Bad Business Process (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about two weeks ago | (#47440781)

You'd think not getting anthrax, smallpox and deadly bird flu would be a powerful incentive to follow the proper procedures to keep everything sanitary :-/

I suppose if upper management ignored the problem for long enough, it WOULD eventually sort itself out...

People get blase about risks (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about two weeks ago | (#47441319)

When you live with a situation that the world labels 'dangerous' and nothing happens, it's hard to keep believing its really dangerous. This is why deterrent sentences on criminals don't have much effect; people get used to the idea, and carry on living in the same way regardless of the risk. Sad but true!

Employees supposed to have been killed (2)

Skevin (16048) | about two weeks ago | (#47440919)

"Employees not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been."

The Employees were supposed to have been killed? Now which Three-Letter-Angency is responsible for that?

Re:Employees supposed to have been killed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441269)

While amusing, it is worth pointing out (since already multiple people have made such a joke): the interpretation in which the employees were supposed to have been killed is not a valid interpretation.

"Employees not wearing protective gear" is a noun-phrase, and the subject. "worked" is the verb. "with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been" is a prepositional phrase which is the object of the verb. ("bacteria that..." is a single noun phrase, and is the object of the preposition.) There is no correct interpretation of the sentence in which "not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that" or "worked with bacteria that" could be elided. Crucially, the "that" starts a subordinate clause which describes the bacteria; any way of interpreting the sentence to mean that the employees should have been killed would need to eliminate the "that" without eliminating the remainder of the clause.

It is perhaps a somewhat awkwardly written sentence, but it is not grammatically incorrect or ambiguous as far as I can tell.

Re:Employees supposed to have been killed (2)

weilawei (897823) | about two weeks ago | (#47441937)

It is perhaps a somewhat awkwardly written sentence, but it is not grammatically incorrect or ambiguous as far as I can tell.

Just run it by a constitutional scholar. I'm sure they'll provide you with many more interpretations.

So it begins.... (1)

Abhishek Dey Das (3683551) | about two weeks ago | (#47441145)

So begins World War Z!

Could have been worse (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about two weeks ago | (#47441379)

At the vaccination research lab funded by Jenny McCarthy, all of the workers who were treated for exposure are now autistic.

"All were offered a vaccine" - LOL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441411)

... seeing as there is no such thing as 'vaccination', and Jenner was a fraud...

http://www.whale.to/v/hadwen1.html

Still, better parrot whatever the T.V. tells you, right?

The Next Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47441999)

Mixing up viles of anthrax and flu to create.. Anthrax-Flu!

Re:The Next Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47442057)

Flanthrax! [wikipedia.org]

Smallpox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47442283)

All this comes with a potential smallpox scare this week too:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-09/vials-of-smallpox-discovered-in-us-government-storage-room/5583542

A fun week at the CDC.

--Q

Plague, Inc. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about two weeks ago | (#47442419)

I just binge-played Plague, Inc. on my phone.

Now when I hear a story like this, my first thought is, "Will I get bonus DNA points because of this?"

Dear CDC employees: Sorry we almost killed you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47445659)

You're all fired.

I work in a clinical virology lab (1)

Another Mouse Coward (3395715) | about two weeks ago | (#47465075)

In my clinical virology lab we get test samples several times a year from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to assure that we maintain our competency in diagnosing viral agents. One year, a technologist noticed that the respiratory culture she was looking at was remarkably "hot." Turned out it was the 1918 Pandemic Influenza A strain that killed a bazillion people! Gee, thanks CAP! That should be handled in a Biosafety Level 5 lab, not a Biosafety 2 lab! Thank goodness I wasn't reading those tubes as I'm very clumsy and have dropped way too many culture tubes in my 20+ year career! (Most of the time, they were negative, phew!)
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