CDC Accidentally Shipped A Deadly Avian Flu Virus To Department of Agriculture

Dawn Papple

CDC scientists took some shortcuts and accidentally sent samples of a deadly bird flu virus to a Department of Agriculture laboratory earlier this year, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated. According to the Washington Post, the CDC intended to ship a "relatively benign animal strain to a poultry research laboratory of the Department of Agriculture." Unfortunately, a deadly strain of the Avian Flu Virus was sent in the shipment.

Thankfully, no one was infected or became ill and the deadly bird flu virus was successfully destroyed, but the mistake has increased mistrust towards the CDC's ability to handle infectious materials. After the mishap, the CDC employees that sent the deadly bird flu virus to the Department of Agriculture's poultry lab failed to notify their supervisors of their dangerous mix-up for more than six weeks. CDC Director Tom Frieden called the reporting delay the "most distressing" concern of the scientist's avian flu virus mistake.

After the CDC's internal review, CDC officials concluded that the center's scientists failed to follow ideal pathogen control practices. Furthermore, the CDC reported that no approved laboratory-specific operating procedures existed for the specific work that was being done on the bird flu virus. It is most likely, according to the CDC investigation, that the deadly bird flu virus was grown at the same time and in the same workstation as the benign flu virus that was intended to be sent to the Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, there was no written documentation that recorded the exact procedures taken in the incident that caused the potentially disastrous error.

If the error had been isolated and reported promptly, officials at the CDC indicated they might be less concerned with the scientist's error. Several incidents add to the level of concern CDC officials experienced this month. Other CDC mishaps discovered involved potentially exposing dozens of CDC employees to live anthrax and botulism bacteria, according to the Washington Post. Last month, old smallpox virus samples were discovered improperly stored and forgotten about in a National Institutes of Health building.

Inquisitr reported at that time:

"Shortly after the shocking news that a Federal agent discovered six vials of smallpox in a forgotten storage area follows new concern: the storage are contained dengue, rickettsia, and influenza vials as well, among others, totaling over 300 containers of deadly disease."

Public trust towards the CDC's ability to contain deadly diseases is at a record low. When two American missionaries were brought home to the United States for treatment, public concern was heightened. Donald Trump made his lack of faith in the CDC's ability to contain infectious disease abundantly clear in a Twitter rant as Inquisitr recently reported.

Inquisitr wants your opinion. Does the latest mishap with the deadly bird flu virus cause you to have less confidence in the CDC's ability to keep infectious diseases contained?

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