Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspend shipments

World Today

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspend shipments

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended shipments of all biological samples from some of its highest security level labs until an intense safety review is conducted. This comes after what the CDC director calls “totally unacceptable behavior” in same laboratories. Erika Edwards reports.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspend shipments

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspend shipments

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended shipments of all biological samples from some of its highest security level labs until an intense safety review is conducted. This comes after what the CDC director calls "totally unacceptable behavior" in same laboratories. Erika Edwards reports.

An internal investigation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed several serious errors at CDC labs, historically considered world-class in their safety precautions. During a press briefing Friday, CDC Director Tom Frieden addressed recent incidents, starting with the anthrax scare that potentially exposed at least 80 CDC workers. He said scientists failed to follow the correct protocol.

None of the workers have fallen ill, but that specific lab is now closed. In a separate incident, workers accidentally sent a sample of highly infectious bird flu to an outside lab. This week, another government health agency discovered decades-old vials of what are known as viable forms of smallpox.

These errors, coupled with mistakes in 2006 involving live anthrax and botulism, lead to many to question how the CDC could have allowed agents to be released in the last decade.