Ziploc bags: If they’re good enough for my ham sandwich, they must be good enough for anthrax!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has admitted to a dangerously lax culture in its laboratories, exposing employees to H5N1 bird flu and anthrax – which was sometimes stored in Ziploc bags.
The whole CDC/extreme negligence issue began last month when CDC employees failed to note that the anthrax they shipped to other labs last month was live. The lab was supposed to completely kill anthrax samples before sending them to two other CDC labs. But that didn’t happen. As a result, dozens of CDC workers were potentially exposed to dangerous anthrax bacteria – some of who were not examined until five days later.
Luckily no one got sick, but the agency decided it was time to conduct an internal investigation. In addition to an internal report, the CDC asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to conduct a parallel probe – because if the CDC couldn’t keep thorough track of their anthrax, they probably couldn’t conduct a thorough investigation.
APHIS found a long list of violations that the CDC didn’t catch, including transferring dangerous materials in Ziploc bags, storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted hallway, misplacing anthrax containers, and failing to decontaminate areas because workers “could not remember if they used expired bleach.”
A CDC spokesman said the agency is “carefully scrutinizing” the report. Hopefully more carefully than they handle anthrax….