CDC reassigns researcher after anthrax incident

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 23, 2014
The CDC Roybal Campus. Source:

The CDC Roybal Campus. Source:

The Centers for Disease Control has reassigned a lead researcher as it continues investigating the possible exposure of dozens of employees to live anthrax bacteria.

“I won’t confirm the employee’s name, but the employee involved has been detailed to another position pending the results of the investigation,” senior press officer Benjamin Haynes said.

Two anonymous CDC scientists told Reuters that the employee is Michael Farrell, who is head of the CDC’s Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory. To read that story, click here.

CDC also has revised its initial report, saying as many as 80 employees were possibly exposed to the anthrax bacteria. Those employees are being monitored and receiving antibiotics.

The initial report from CDC about the incident said, “Established safety practices were not followed.”

Investigators so far have determined that one lab at the Roybal campus in Atlanta was preparing samples for research at other CDC labs in an effort to find new ways of “detecting dangerous pathogens in environmental samples.”

“However, the lab used a procedure that did not adequately inactivate the samples,” the CDC said.

CDC said the potentially infectious samples were moved to labs that weren’t set up to handle live bacteria.

For our previous story about this issue, click here.

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