*An Editorial News item Viewpoint…
Single One Health example shines during U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Laboratory Accident Reports
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a press release July 11, 2014 outlining their recognition of and plans for remedying disclosures about a recent regrettable anthrax episode. Steps for improving laboratory quality and safety were highlighted http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0711-lab-safety.html.
Noted in the second paragraph of the press release was, “While finalizing this report, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of non-pathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at the CDC influenza laboratory with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a BSL-3 select-agent laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were no exposures as a result of that incident. The CDC influenza laboratory is now closed and will not reopen until adequate procedures are put in place. Further investigation, review, and action is underway.” Repeat: “There were no exposures as a result of that incident.”
The New York Times report on July 12, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/science/cdc-closes-anthrax-and-flu-labs-after-accidents.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 mentioned this important item describing it as …”In a second accident, disclosed Friday, a C.D.C. lab accidentally contaminated a relatively benign flu sample with a dangerous H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed 386 people since 2003. Fortunately, a United States Agriculture Department laboratory realized that the strain was more dangerous than expected and alerted the C.D.C.”…
This potentially life saving “One Health in Action” by an essentially veterinary medical oriented USDA laboratory issuing an alert to CDC was wisely and promptly accepted; this is instructive. It demonstrates how the One Health (One Medicine) approach—a collaborative, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary paradigm—can and does significantly advance the public’s health. The CDC maintains a One Health Office http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dhcpp/one_health/.
The salient point is that the majority of the dangerous pathogens are zoonotic agents, and thus all biosafety systems and protocols used by policy makers should involve both animal and human scientists thereby leading to a higher standard.
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