U.S. Senate panel calls on CDC to explain anthrax incident

WASHINGTON, June 23 Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:10pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate health panel on Monday called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a detailed explanation of a safety breach that exposed 84 people at three CDC laboratories to live anthrax, a deadly pathogen.

In a letter to CDC Director Dr Tom Frieden, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees biomedical research, requested a briefing and written explanation for the events that led to the exposure.

"We request a detailed explanation of what happened, why established safety protocols were not followed or were insufficient to prevent such an incident," the letter said.

"The breach in safety protocol threatened the health and safety of CDC staff and raises serious concerns and questions with respect to the protocols and procedures that were followed at the biosafety labs." (Reporting by Toni Clarke; Editing by Eric Beech)

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