Scientists determined some of the 60-year-old forgotten smallpox vials contained virus that was still "alive" enough to reproduce. This means that if other facilities around the world also have forgotten smallpox samples—a likely scenario—those may also be alive enough to cause illness.
Top leadership at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned that CDC workers had accidentally shipped virulent H5N1 to another federal lab. Prior to the smallpox incident, lapses in lab procedures meant dozens of CDC workers could have been exposed to anthrax.
The CDC temporarily closed its flu and anthrax labs. It also temporarily stopped shipping certain pathogens.
The National Institutes of Health plans to reconvene the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which hasn't met in almost two years.
A House of Representatives committee questioned CDC Director Tom Frieden about the agency's recent security lapses. Frieden said that the CDC needs to improve its "culture of safety."
The CDC revealed that federal scientists had discovered 327 vials of decades-old, forgotten samples labeled as pathogens such as dengue, influenza, Q fever and rickettsia. The samples were discovered in the same area as the forgotten smallpox vials. All the vials were well sealed and free of leakage.