The investigation into the unintentional Anthrax exposure, last month by CDC has opened up a Pandora Box and distressing problems were discovered in the protocol.CDC in a news conference has said though the possibility of employees getting exposed to Anthrax is there but it is unlikely that it could have happened.
The CDC investigation has been triggered by an event which happened between 6th and 13th June but was discovered on 13th. The lab was making Anthrax samples which was meant to be used by other labs within the CDC Atlanta compound and are believed to be inadequately inactivated.
Since the other Labs believed these samples to be inactivated, did not wear protective equipment when using an infectious sample. As a consequence workers in two of the three labs were exposed to anthrax and emergency decontamination procedures had to be initiated. Anthrax infections can happen through the skin, by inhalation or by ingestion with food.
CDC report said that the lab did not follow the approved sterilization procedure. There was neither any record in place nor any senior staff was there to check if the safety protocols are followed. CDC also found a paucity of knowledge about the processes which would have made the anthrax less dangerous among the workers.
During the course of the investigation it was revealed that there was a similar incident six weeks ago which involved a non pathogenic or inert samples of avian influenza, which is a type of avian flu and is not dangerous accidentally getting contaminated by the virulent H5N1 strain.
It is the same strain which is known otherwise as bird flu and has infected more than 600 people and also killed millions of birds. Thankfully none of the workers were exposed but the labs will remain closed until proper safety protocols are in place.