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Remember the 3700 deadly flu vials "mistakenly" sent around the world in 2005?

 
Oh Fck...
User ID: 651707
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04/25/2009 10:53 PM
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Remember the 3700 deadly flu vials "mistakenly" sent around the world in 2005?
I'm thinking it wasn't a mistake, and I'm thinking it wasn't all destroyed.


 [link to www.timesonline.co.uk] 




Did these ever get found? If not, this may be what has everyone in an uproar. TPTB may know that someone[/] found them.



 [link to www.timesonline.co.uk] 



April 13, 2005
Scientists on alert over deadly flu virus
By Philippe Naughton, Times Online

Scientists in 18 countries responded to a World Health Organisation alert today and rushed to destroy vials containing a deadly influenza strain that were mistakenly sent around the world as part of a routine testing programme.

The H2N2 virus, similar to one associated with the 1957 Asian flu pandemic that killed up to four million people, was sent to nearly 4,000 labs, 90 per cent of them in North America, by the US-based College of American Pathologists (CAP) last year. It was sent out in test kits routinely sent out for internal quality control checks.

Britain did not feature on a list of those countries and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said it was "highly unlikely" that any samples had made their way into the UK.

"There’s a slim - but a real - risk that this could spark a pandemic," said Maria Cheng, a spokeswoman for the UN’s health agency, who explained that many people around the world would have no protection if the virus were released.

A spokeswoman for the HPA, which tries to protect the public from infectious diseases, said the agency did not believe any UK labs received supplies from the CAP. "We’re not aware of any of these vials being sent to UK labs," she added.

The WHO’s top flu expert, Dr Klaus Stohr, has warned that if anyone was infected by the virus, there was a "high risk of severe illness. "The risk is relatively low that a lab worker will get sick, but a large number of labs got it and if someone does get infected, the risk of severe illness is high and this virus has been shown to be fully transmissible," he said.

In a statement, the WHO said: "There have been no reports of H2N2 infections in laboratory workers associated with the distribution of the H2N2 samples from CAP. The proper use of biological safety cabinets, along with the use of recommended personal protective equipment, greatly reduces the risk of laboratory-acquired influenza infections."

The H2N2 virus killed between one and four million people worldwide during the Asian influenza pandemic of 1957-58 before finally disappearing in 1968. Anyone born after 1968 would have little or no immunity to the virus, which is not covered by current influenza vaccines.

"As far as pandemics go, it (the event in 1957-8) was relatively mild. But if this were to recur it would have significant consequences for the public health system," Ms Cheng said.

Security experts have also feared that a resurgence of ancient or stored viruses such as smallpox or past flu strains could be used by bioterrorists.

The virus samples were distributed by the CAP in October 2004, but the problem was discovered only by a Canadian laboratory only last month.

"As a precautionary measure, WHO is recommending that all samples of the proficiency testing panel from CAP and other proficiency testing providers containing H2N2 and any derivates be destroyed immediately," the agency said.

The US Government asked the College April 8 to instruct 3,747 laboratories that received samples containing the H2N2 virus to destroy them, the WHO said. A second message sent on April 12 "further requested that destruction of the H2N2 virus be confirmed and that any case of respiratory disease among laboratory workers be investigated and notified to national authorities".

The samples are believed to have been sent to 61 laboratories in 16 countries outside North America, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. "We are talking about a fully transmissible human influenza virus to which the majority of the population has no immunity. We are concerned," said Dr Stohr.

Apart from the US and Canada, samples were sent to Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Bermuda, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan, the WHO said.

This afternoon the agency said that officials from Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore had already confirmed the destruction of the flu samples and all the other countries were expected to report back by Friday.

US authorities and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta were investigating the incident at CAP. "It was kind of unusual that they chose a strain from 1957," Ms Cheng said. "The problem is not necessarily that they had it, but that they sent it out and people didn’t know what it was."

The H2N2 samples were shipped to the laboratories by the private Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio as part of "routine quality-control certification".

Dr Stohr called the private company’s decision "unwise and unfortunate", while Robert Webster, a flu expert at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, called the incident "a terrible, terrible mistake."
Anonymous Coward
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04/26/2009 03:39 PM
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Re: Remember the 3700 deadly flu vials "mistakenly" sent around the world in 2005?
These vials were for a different strain to that which is reported as the cause of Mexico's outbreak.
Don't forget.....
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04/26/2009 03:53 PM
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Re: Remember the 3700 deadly flu vials "mistakenly" sent around the world in 2005?
There was an infectious disease center in Galveston that was damaged during Gustav too. hiding
Anonymous Coward
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04/26/2009 03:54 PM
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Re: Remember the 3700 deadly flu vials "mistakenly" sent around the world in 2005?
Ooops...it was IKE not Gustav.

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