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Monday, November 29, 2021

Vials labeled “smallpox” found in Pennsylvania laboratory

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the opening of vials labeled “smallpox” in a laboratory in Pennsylvania, the health agency said Thursday.

“The frozen vials were accidentally discovered by a lab worker while cleaning a freezer at a facility that is doing vaccine research in Pennsylvania,” CDC spokeswoman Belsi Gonzalez said Thursday.

She added that the CDC has been working with law enforcement officials to investigate the vials. The agency said the vials were intact.

“The lab staff member who found the vials was wearing gloves and a mask,” she said. “There is no indication that anyone was exposed to a small amount of frozen vials. We will provide additional information as they become available. “

The CDC did not say where the vials were found in Pennsylvania, or how many. Yahoo News, citing a warning sent to Department of Homeland Security officials, said the vials were found at a Merck facility outside of Philadelphia. Local news station 6ABC reported that Montgomery County officials were also notified of the opening.

Merck did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. The FBI has sent inquiries to the CDC.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Health would like to emphasize that there were no known threats to public health and safety,” said department spokesman Mark O’Neill. “According to the CDC, there is no indication that anyone has been exposed to a small number of frozen vials that have been labeled ‘smallpox.”

Smallpox, an infectious disease caused by the variola virus, has caused devastating outbreaks for centuries, with about three out of every 10 cases fatal, according to the CDC.

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Symptoms include very high fever and blisters, and a progressive skin rash.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus claimed the lives of 300 million people in the 20th century.

In the event of an outbreak, “smallpox vaccine is sufficient to vaccinate every person in the United States,” according to the CDC.

The agency said the last natural outbreak of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949. According to the WHO, the last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977.

WHO said there are two authorized repositories for variola virus stocks: the CDC in Atlanta and the CDC in Russia. In the same year, six glass vials of smallpox virus were found in a warehouse in a government laboratory outside Washington. At the time, the CDC stated that there was no indication that laboratory staff or the general public were exposed to the contents.

The CDC said research on smallpox in the United States is focusing on developing vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests to protect people from smallpox if used for bioterrorism.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said smallpox can be fatal, “even after freeze-drying.”

Because of its high infectivity, he said, “the virus itself must be kept cold.” At room temperature, he said, after many years “the virus is unlikely to retain the ability to infect humans.”

Dr. Glatter added that discussions are ongoing about whether governments should preserve samples of the virus or destroy all known copies of the virus.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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