Monday, July 16, 2007

Accidents will happen........

New Scientist relates where the next bio-terror episode may come from, your friendly neighborhood biodefence-lab. They cite a litany of accidents from labs from across the country that would put your average would- be terrorist to shame if they ever hit the general population.

"• At the University of New Mexico, one worker was jabbed with an anthrax-laden needle, and another with a syringe containing an undisclosed, genetically engineered microbe.

• At the Medical University of Ohio, workers were exposed to and infected with Valley Fever.

• At the University of Chicago, there was another puncture with an undisclosed agent normally requiring heavy containment, probably anthrax or plague.

• At the University of California at Berkeley, workers handled deadly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which spreads in the air, without containment when it was mislabelled as harmless.

• At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, TB escaped containment after equipment failed.

As yet, none of the accidents have been serious in outcome. But, Hammond fears, more such accidents may go unreported. "Instead of a 'culture of responsibility', the federal government has instilled a culture of denial" he says. "Labs hide problems, and think that accident reporting is for masochists."

No comments: