Officials at the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention have notified that there might have been an accidental exposure to the Ebola virus and a lab technician is being observed for it. He can have come into contact with a small amount of a live virus, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said in an emailed statement.
The experimental material was on a sealed plate, but wasn’t supposed to be moved into the lab in which the technician was working, Reynolds said “The worker will be monitored for 21 days and the person’s name hasn’t been released”. Extra employees have been informed, but no one has required monitoring, Reynolds said “Other staff will be assessed for exposure”.
There is no risk find to the public and lab scientist’s notified CDC officials of what happened on Tuesday, Reynolds said the lab has been decontaminated twice, and the material in question was destroyed before CDC officials became aware of the mistake.
The possible exposure is under internal investigation and has been reported to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, Reynolds said. Extra employees have been notified, but no one has required monitoring.
Reynolds said, transfers from the lab the experiment material came from have been stopped during the internal review, and the lab the subjection may have happened in is closed.
The technician’s potential subjection is at least the second to prompt a precautionary response from the agency in six months.
In June, at least 52 workers at the Centres for Disease Control took antibiotics as a precaution because a lab safety problem was thought to have exposed them to anthrax.
News of the technician’s possible exposure to Ebola comes days after CDC Director Tom Frieden returned from West Africa, where an epidemic of the virus has killed thousands people. Frieden said Monday that response to the epidemic has improved significantly in recent months, but the virus takes up to spread in Monrovia, Conakry, Liberia and Guinea.
According to Public health officials Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected with the virus putting health care workers and those in close quarters with infected people at higher risk of contracting the virus.
“I am troubled by this incident in our Ebola research laboratory in Atlanta,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in the statement. “I have directed that there will be a full review of every aspect of the incident and that CDC takes all necessary measures.”
Four health care and aid workers who contracted the virus have been treated and released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. (AP)