Report on the Potential to Anthrax
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted an internal review of an incident that involved an unintentional release of potentially viable anthrax within its Roybal Campus, in Atlanta, Georgia. On June 5, 2014, a laboratory scientist in the Bioterrorism Rapid Response and Advanced Technology (BRRAT) laboratory prepared extracts from a panel of eight bacterial select agents, including Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis), under biosafety level (BSL) 3 containment conditions. These samples were being prepared for analysis using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, a technology that can be used for rapid bacterial species identification.This protein extraction procedure was being evaluated as part of a preliminary assessment of whether MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry could provide a faster way to detect anthrax compared to conventional methods and could be utilized by emergency response laboratories. After chemical treatment for 10 minutes and extraction, the samples were checked for sterility by plating portions of them on bacterial growth media. When no growth was observed on sterility plates after 24 hours, the remaining samples, which had been held in the chemical solution for 24 hours, were moved to CDC BSL-2 laboratories. On June 13, 2014, a laboratory scientist in the BRRAT laboratory BSL-3 lab observed unexpected growth on the anthrax sterility plate. While the specimens plated on this plate had only been treated for 10 minutes as opposed to the 24 hours of treatment of specimens sent outside of the BSL-3 lab, this nonetheless indicated that the B. anthracis sample extract may not have been sterile when transferred to BSL-2 laboratories.The overriding factor contributing to this incident was the lack of an approved, written study plan reviewed by senior staff or scientific leadership to ensure that the research design was appropriate and met all laboratory safety requirements. Several additional factors contributed to the incident: Use of unapproved sterilization techniques Transfer of material not confirmed to be inactive Use of pathogenic B. anthracis when non-pathogenic strains would have been appropriate for this experiment Inadequate knowledge of the peer-reviewed literature Lack of a standard operating procedure or process on inactivation and transfer to cover all procedures done with select agents in the BRRAT laboratory.CDCs initial response to the incident focused on ensuring that any potentially exposed staff were assessed and, if appropriate, provided preventive treatment to reduce the risk of illness if exposure had occurred. CDC also ceased operations of the BRRAT laboratory pending investigation, decontaminated potentially affected laboratory spaces, undertook research to refine understanding of potential exposures and optimize preventive treatment, and conducted a review of the event to identify key recommendations.
- Paperback | 24 pages
- 215.9 x 279.4 x 1.52mm | 113.4g
- 30 May 2015
- United States
- black & white illustrations