Head of CDC's Scandal-Plagued Lab Resigns

A chart is on display on Capitol Hill during a hearing about  hearing about an incident last month at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. A chart is on display on Capitol Hill during a hearing about hearing about an incident last month at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. Lauren Victoria Burke/AP

The head of the Centers for Disease Control lab that exposed workers to live anthrax and deadly strains of bird flu by improperly transporting them resigned Tuesday

Michael Farrell, who had run the C.D.C.'s Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory since 2009, was originally reassigned after the incident.

Last week, C.D.C. Director Tom Frieden told a congressional oversight committee that the C.D.C. would take disciplinary action where it was needed. 

"With the recent incidents, we recognize a pattern at C.D.C. where we need to greatly improve the culture of safety," Frieden told the committee. "What we're seeing is a pattern that we missed, and the pattern is an insufficient culture of safety."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service identified a number of safety problems in a memo that was read at the hearing:

Equipment failures included broken or nonfunctioning machinery, the failure to use filters or replace filters on a regular basis, the use of equipment that was not sufficient to contain the select agent or toxin (e.g., equipment used on a laboratory bench top instead of in a biosafety cabinet), and biosafety cabinet grilles obstructed with pens or other items..."

An internal investigation revealed that safety lapses at the Atlanta laboratory were responsible for the to failure kill the bacteria before sending it to two other labs.   Earlier this month, the C.D.C. placed a hold on shipping dangerous pathogens. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.