Recent revelations out of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) may raise doubts among citizens regarding the organization’s ability to keep the public safe from harmful pathogens.
According to the Washington Post, several Alabama laboratories run by the federal government failed to follow protocol five times in the past decade when they sent anthrax, bird flu, and botulism bacteria to partner laboratories.
In response to these incidents, the CDC halted operations at labs specializing in influenza and rapid bioterrorism responses. They also temporarily suspended other CDC labs from sending out any biological materials until they complete a full investigation.
Although up to 84 employees faced potential anthrax exposure during the incident, no illnesses or infections have resulted to date. In addition, the organization has disposed of the organisms in question.
How These Lapses Could Affect the Public
It seems as though the CDC is currently working to manage the situation and prevent similar mistakes from occurring in the future. However, individuals across the country ought to be aware of the potential risks associated with past or future errors in handling these dangerous pathogens.
In the wrong hands, only one package of transmittable organisms could result in widespread infection and disease. With more of the population embarking travel across the country and the world, one infected individual could begin a global chain reaction difficult to control or reverse.
Legislators and public interest groups alike will certainly continue to monitor conditions at the CDC in the expectation they will more thoroughly and strictly enforce safety procedures in the future.
Organizations such as the CDC assume a major responsibility in ensuring the health and safety of the public. When these entities experience security breaches and failures, the potential for devastating effects on citizens is far-reaching.
If you or a loved one has experienced illness or infection due to the failure of an organization charged with public health, contact a Washington, D.C. public health attorney to obtain help fighting for the justice you deserve.