A lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had its permit for working with dangerous pathogens suspended due to safety violations, USA Today reports.
Since 2003, five labs have been suspended from the Federal Select Agent Program, which oversees labs that work with agents like anthrax, plague, and Ebola, USA Today says. In that same timeframe, another five labs have faced repeated referrals for oversight action. The article notes that CDC and the US Department of Agriculture jointly run the select agent program.
But a CDC lab was among those with safety issues. According to documents obtained by USA Today through the Freedom of Information Act, a CDC lab had its select agent permit suspended in around 2007 because it violated regulations regarding how an unnamed virus may be handled and transferred. The lab had its permit reinstated in 2010. This week the agency said the lapse occurred at a facility in Colorado and involved the Japanese encephalitis virus.
"None of these violations resulted in a risk to the public or illness in laboratory workers," the CDC tells USA Today. The agency also notes that that virus is n longer on the select pathogen list.
The paper adds that this revelation comes two years after CDC had to close its anthrax and flu labs after samples there were also mishandled.