CDC provides update on safety improvements

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an update on Friday of its efforts to improve laboratory safety in the wake of multiple high-profile incidents involving pathogens this year.

The moves to improve safety were made after the release of summary findings of a Department of Agriculture assessment of the recent potential release of anthrax in a CDC lab, as well as a CDC internal investigation into the shipment of a contaminated avian influenza sample to a high-containment lab in May.

In addition to steps already taken by the CDC, the update detailed additional measures, such as the development of better documentation processes, that will improve record-keeping and reviewed existing laboratory protocols.

The CDC will also provide training to staff to identify and close gaps in existing skills and knowledge, including a plan to implement new procedures regarding anthrax inactivation protocol. New oversight of individuals using the protocol will also be implemented.

"CDC is working intensively to make our labs to be models not only of scientific rigor but also of safety," CDC Director Tom Frieden said. "We will implement changes identified in these reviews - and more - so that we can continue the critical laboratory science needed to protect health in the US and around the world."