July 16 (Reuters) - Ahead of a congressional hearing on Wednesday on the anthrax and bird flu breaches at the U.S. government’s most respected public health laboratories, committee members released new findings on numerous lapses at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Federal investigators found safety and security problems at CDC labs handling dangerous pathogens in the 18 months prior to the release of live anthrax to a lab not equipped to work with it in June 2014, according to Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The investigators, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found equipment failures, an inability to document staff training, and missing signatures on required biosafety plans.
Other failures included unauthorized access to labs and improperly documenting entries and exits, posing risks to biosecurity, or the theft of potentially lethal microbes.
The findings stem from six inspections at the CDC’s Atlanta campus between January 2013 and March 2014. (Reporting by Michele Gershberg; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)