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Keeping it Safe

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking to bring a safety chief on board, the Guardian reports.

The creation of such a post was suggested by an internal investigation there after mishaps in handling anthrax and bird flu samples this past summer. And, the Guardian notes, it's taken on increased importance as the agency last week said that a lab worker might have been exposed to Ebola.

The technician was handling Ebola samples that were supposed to be inactivated, but might not have been. The researcher was wearing gloves and a gown, though not what's recommended for working with live virus. The worker is being monitored for 21 days for signs of infection.

Ron Klain, who is leading the US Ebola response, has said the incident was "unacceptable" and that Tom Frieden, the CDC director, has promised an investigation and a report on it within four weeks, according to NBC News.

The agency is also now, the Guardian says, searching for someone to fill that laboratory science and safety position permanently. In the interim, Fox News reports that CDC microbiologist Leslie Dauphin will be overseeing lab safety.

"The person selected will be empowered to identify problems, establish plans to solve them, and hold programs throughout CDC accountable for follow up," adds CDC spokesperson Barbara Reynolds to the Guardian.