WASHINGTON, July 13 A U.S. congressional
committee said on Sunday that it will hear from half a dozen
witnesses this week about dangerous lapses at federal health
facilities, including one that led to the potential exposure of
84 people to live anthrax.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), is among several government
witnesses scheduled to testify at a Wednesday hearing of the
House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee, which released its witness list online.
Accompanying Frieden will be Joseph Henderson, deputy
director of the CDC's Office of Security and Emergency
The panel will also hear from Jere Dick, associate deputy
administrator or the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services
at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Nancy Kingsbury, a
managing director of the watchdog U.S. Government Accountability
Two non-government experts - Behavioral-based Improvement
Solutions LLC President Sean Kaufman and Rutgers University
professor Richard Ebright - will also appear, the panel said.
The CDC has blamed multiple failures by scientists, and a
lack of agency-wide safety policies, for the potential exposure
of lab workers to live anthrax at its Atlanta campus last month.
Researchers in a high-security lab sent samples of what they
thought were inactivated bacteria to colleagues in a
lower-security lab, with fewer protections.
The House subcommittee, chaired by Republican Representative
Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, is trying to determine what led to
that lapse as well as others including the mishandling of
dangerous avian bird flu at a CDC influenza lab and the
discovery of smallpox vials in an unused room at the National
Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
No one has fallen ill as a result of the incidents.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Eric Walsh)