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Upton, Murphy Comment On Additional CDC Safety Failures

Jul 11, 2014
CDC Head Will Testify on Recent Anthrax Incident WEDNESDAY

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) responded to the latest announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on additional safety breaches. As part of the ongoing investigation into the potential exposure of more than 80 workers at a CDC lab in Atlanta to live anthrax, committee leaders earlier this week sent letters to the CDC and HHS Inspector General seeking documents and information. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden is scheduled to testify before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee next Wednesday, July 16, at 10 a.m.

Chairman Upton commented, "The repeated breakdown in protocols and safety failures involving the world’s deadliest germs and pathogens is wholly unacceptable. The consequences of such carelessness could not be more dire. This latest revelation underscores the need for our investigation and the importance of next week's hearing to review the safety measures and practices at the CDC. Past fixes by CDC several years ago apparently were not followed and not adequately implemented. We will seek to find out why CDC thinks its latest actions will prove more effective than past efforts, and whether congressional intervention may be necessary. We look forward to hearing directly from Dr. Frieden next Wednesday and will seek his firm commitment that such safety lapses are over."

Subcommittee Chairman Murphy added, "With the release of today’s report, we’ve learned the dangerous transfer of possible live anthrax bacteria by the CDC’s Atlanta lab was not an isolated incident by a rogue scientist, but rather one of multiple mishaps over the last several years that were violations, or apparent violations, of federal regulations for handling deadly biological material. These repeated safety failures raise grave concerns about the CDC’s ability to ensure strict procedures, protocols, and training are followed and an area we will examine further at Wednesday’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing."

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