Medical Technology

Vials Labeled ‘Smallpox’ found in Pennsylvania Lab Freezer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Federal health officials on Wednesday confirmed the finding of frozen vials labeled “Smallpox” in an area of a freezer located in Pennsylvania that conducts vaccine research.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the vials were accidentally discovered by a lab worker who was cleaning the freezer.

“CDC as well as its administration partners, and law enforcement are investigating the situation and the vials’ contents are intact,” CDC spokesperson Belsie Gonzalez said in an email.

Gonzalez wrote that Gonzalez noticed that Gonzalez was wearing gloves and an eye mask when he found the vials. “There is no evidence that anyone was exposed to the small amount of frozen vials.”

The CDC did not provide a location in Pennsylvania the vials were discovered.

Smallpox is an extremely fatal infective disease brought on by the variola virus that was a threat to the entire world for centuries and killed nearly three-quarters of those that it affected. Victims experienced a scorching fever, body aches, and then blisters and spots that would leave survivors with pitted marks.

The United States was able in the 1970s to end routine vaccinations for children against the disease. It also noted that the last natural outbreak in the country occurred in 1949. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox to be eliminated in 1980.

The World Health Organization has designated two locations where stocks of variola virus are kept and used for research by the CDC in Atlanta and a Russian centre.

According to the CDC the research on smallpox in the US focuses on creation and testing of vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tests that prevent smallpox.

In July 2014, authorities said a scientist from the government cleaning an old storage space at the Bethesda, Maryland, research center discovered six decades-old glass vials that contained freeze-dried smallpox samples packed away and buried in a cardboard box. Officials dubbed it the nation’s first discovery of smallpox that was not identified.

Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963262?src=rss

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