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Sloppy biosafety procedures found at federal disease center

Does this make you feel safer? An investigation of a federal center for studying dangerous diseases in primates has found serious biosafety procedure violations.

Concerns arose at the center in Covington, Louisiana, after two rhesus macaques became ill in late November with melioidosis, a disease caused by the tropical bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. In January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Agriculture investigators traced the strain infecting the primates to a vaccine research lab working with mice. Last month, as the investigation continued, CDC suspended the primate center’s 10 or so research projects involving B. pseudomallei and other select agents (a list of dangerous bacteria, viruses, and toxins that are tightly regulated). Meanwhile, a report in USA Today suggested the bacterium might have contaminated the center’s soil or water.

…In addition, workers “frequently entered the select agent lab without appropriate protective clothing,” the release says. No center staff has shown signs of illness. On 12 March, however, Tulane announced that blood tests have found that one worker has low levels of antibodies to the bacterium, suggesting possible exposure at the center, according to ABC News.

Is there any area of government expertise that isn’t screwing up royally these days? As far as I can tell, the answer is no. The sooner we as a people can cut back on the government’s resources so that they won’t have the ability to do us harm, the better off we will be.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • Edward

    > Is there any area of government expertise that isn’t screwing up royally these days? As far as I can tell, the answer is no.

    I think that the expertise of our military forces are still able to defeat our enemies, but they are being inexpertly utilized.

    Our police forces also have developed very effective and protective expertise in a variety of areas, but they are continually being disrespected by those who use the tern “racist” to describe effective tactics and strategies*.

    Other emergency responders also have demonstrated superior expertise, but they are the unsung heroes in our society. We do not hear of their heroics often enough, so all too often we forget about them.

    On the other hand, it seems that some people in safety or health related fields are not made aware enough of the consequences of bad behavior (e.g. not wearing adequate protective clothing). Another example is the VA intentionally lying to us about wait times. It looks like government can be very inexpert in its (mis)management. Without a competitor, government has no incentive to improve.

    * Professor Gates was a “victim” of a procedure that is employed no matter the race of the homeowner, but Gates chose to declare such procedures as racist — but only because he was overly sensitive and because history showed him that he could get away with such a charge. With Obama’s support, he almost got away with it.

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