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If this could happen what next

Posted by goldielocks @ 13:57 on August 2, 2014  

Government workers involved in cleaning out an old storage room made a shocking find, six glass vials of freeze-dried smallpox virus, sealed with melted glass and stored away and forgotten in a cardboard box.
Previously, it had been believed that the only remaining stockpiles of smallpox virus were in highly secure laboratories at the CDC in Atlanta and at a like facility in Moscow, Russia.
This makes the first time that “unaccounted-for smallpox has been discovered,” but it is the “second incident in which a government health agency appeared to have mishandled a highly dangerous germ,” referencing that safety violation at the CDC wherein anthrax exposure could have occurred to scores of employees.
The smallpox vials were found in a building at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and has been used by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972, although the vials may have been stored there since the 1950s. No records have been found to indicate when the vials were stored there, no one has been infected, and no smallpox contamination was found in the building.
However, smallpox can remain deadly even after being freeze-dried, although it usually must be kept cold to maintain its virulence. These vials were stored for many years at room temperature.
In the meantime, we learn that “workers at a federal health site were not immediately notified” when the vials were found.
One anonymous scientist had this to say: “I think the responsible thing to do would have been to inform us without us having to find out through the media.”
True, that would have seemed the decent thing to do, but this is government we’re talking about. An NIH spokeswoman said the decision was made not to alert employees about the discovery because the vials posed no threat and had already been secured.
Frankly, we can’t blame the employees for being pissed, because we have to ask, if there had been a threat, would they have then told the employees?
We doubt it, judging from past history. Three years ago, “an outbreak of a deadly disease agent that has no known cure occurred at an NIH clinical center. That incident was not revealed for some months.” After that incident, the government promised “in the future to more quickly alert state and local officials if another dangerous outbreak occurs even if it did not pose a clear public health risk.” So much for that empty promise.
The vials are undergoing “up to two weeks of testing to establish whether they are dead,” then they will be destroyed. In the meantime, the CDC notified the World Health Organization about the vials and invited them to participate in the investigation. If viable smallpox is found, WHO will be invited to “witness the destruction of these smallpox materials, as has been the precedent for other cases where smallpox samples have been found outside of the two official repositories.”
Naturally, we can’t help but wonder why they don’t save a lot of time and money and just go ahead and destroy them, but that would not be correct government procedure, which exists to enhance the spending of money.
Well, we think this finding just blows all the arguing over whether or not to destroy those remaining samples right out of the water. If we can make a finding like this here in America, what do you think they might find in warehouses in Russia or the United Kingdom? Or in Iran? Or in Pakistan?
(www.foxnews.com, Monday, July 7, 2014, Global Security Newswire, July 7, July 10, 2014, via www.nti.org.)

by Chembio

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Post by the Golden Rule. Oasis not responsible for content/accuracy of posts. DYODD.