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More Than Just Smallpox in That FDA Storage Area — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 18, 2014

More Than Just Smallpox in That FDA Storage Area

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Vials found in an FDA storage area at the NIH contained not only smallpox but also biologic agents including dengue, influenza, Q fever, and rickettsia, the agency said on Wednesday.

A collection of nearly 330 vials, "most likely assembled between 1946 and 1964," was found on July 1. About a week later, six of the vials were determined to contain viable smallpox virus. Now, the FDA is disclosing what the other vials contained.

The agency notes that all items labeled as "infectious" had been "stored in glass, heat-sealed vials that were well-packed, intact, and free of any leakage, and there is no evidence that anyone was exposed to these agents." Nonetheless, the FDA says, "overlooking such a sample collection is clearly unacceptable." The agency is reviewing all of its cold storage areas to ensure that such materials are not present elsewhere.

Reader Comments (1)

Sujan Swearingen MD Physician, Radiology

Peoople think I am paranoid at times when I am cautious about U.S. healthcare. However, problems like this are not isolated and if they can occur at the NIH then that says a lot on the poor job being done by U.S. physicians and the U.S. healthcare system as a whole.

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