CDC lab director reassigned over possible anthrax exposure incident

Michael Farrell, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory, was recently reassigned from his post.

The change is the result of the potential exposure of dozens of scientists and staff to anthrax earlier this month, Reuters reports.

The possible anthrax exposure has forced approximately 84 employees at the CDC's Atlanta facility to receive a vaccine and antibiotics against infection.

Workers in the bioterror lab may have released live spores into the air earlier this month when workers were trying a new protocol for killing anthrax. Live spores in tubes were sent to other labs in the CDC facility where the recipients opened the lids of the tubes, according to Reuters.

CDC scientists said the risk of infection was very slight, however, because only a small amount of anthrax was sent out of the bioterror lab. A team of scientists used swabs and wipes on June 18 to take samples of all surfaces that may have been contaminated.

CDC staff were called to a meeting on Friday, where some complained they were not properly notified about the incident first discovered on June 13, Reuters reports.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden also sent an email to staff on Friday, apologizing for delays in informing the wider CDC community about the possible anthrax exposure.