Accidents

GERMS GONE WILD SPECIAL: GERM LAB INCIDENTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY, BY STATE

The first column indicates the state impacted or implicated, the second column the page  number on which the incident is discussed in GERMS GONE WILD. Incidents cited only in the 2007 Associated Press review of CDC accident reports leaked to the AP are referenced as "AP." A link to the AP tabulation is provided at the GERMS GONE WILD website at www.germsgonewild.com, under "Resources."

The details of many incidents discussed in GERMS GONE WILD were originally derived from the AP and the archives of the Sunshine Project at www.sunshine-project.org. Most of these incidents would be unknown to the public if not for the work of these two organizations. Given the secrecy prevalent in biodefense research, they likely represent only "the tip of the iceberg."

This secrecy is exacerbated by the failure of the National Institutes of Health to enforce its Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) guidelines--supposedly an important part of the government's minimal regulatory schemes.  (See Chapters Ten and Fifteen of GERMS GONE WILD.)  The date given for most such IBC incidents is 2004--because that's the year The Sunshine Project identified the problems in its thorough survey of IBC's: Mandate for Failure: The State of Institutional Biosafety Committees in an Age of Biological Weapons Research, available at www.sunshine-project.org/biodefense/tspibc.pdf.  I have listed here only the incidents discussed in GERMS GONE WILD.  We can assume that most of the IBC problems identified in 2004 continue to exist.

This material may be reproduced, partly or in its entirety, provided credit is given as follows: "This information was taken from the website http://www.germsgonewild.com/accidents.php, and compiled by Kenneth King, GERMS GONE WILD: How the Unchecked Development of Domestic Biodefense Threatens America (New York: Pegasus, 2010), using information published by the Sunshine Project, Associated Press, and other news sources." 

STATE GGW pp. INCIDENT
AL (+CA, NC, MD) 126 Live anthrax mailed by Southern Research Institute to Oakland Children Hospital's Research Institute.  (2004)
AZ AP Flagstaff: Missing vial anthrax.   (2005)
CA 34 Berkeley: RM spotted fever mistakenly handled as though less harmful pathogen.   (2005)
99 Court rules Lawrence Livermore environmental review inadequate.   (2006) 
126 Oakland Children's Hospital experiments with live anthrax, believing it to be deadened.   (2004)
141 San Diego: Power outage during valley fever necropsy.  (2004) 
211 U Cal Davis conceals research monkey escape.   (2004)
216-217. Allergan (botulinum mfg.) no Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).  (2004)  
220 Institute for Genomic Research: No functional IBC.  (2004) 
AP Cypress: Missing brucella.  (2005) 
CO 140 CDC at Fort Collins: Safety violation with Russian spring- summer virus.   (2004)
AP Fort Collins: Worker drops plate of plague.  (2006) 
AP Fort Collins: Venezuelan equine encephalitis exposure.   (2006) 
CT 447-450 Groton--Safety problems at Pfizer.  (1995-2004) 
AP New Haven, Yale: Missing Q fever.  (2004) 
DE 223 Univ. of Delaware: IBC problems.   (2004)
FL 217 Midwest Research Institute--no IBC.  (2004) 
GA 37-39  Total power loss in new CDC labs; denial of info to public and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  (2007) 
66-69 Georgia State BSL-4 faulted by GAO for inadequate perimeter security.  (2008) 
147 Univ. of GA BSL-3 lab: mechanical failures cause leakage of thousands of gallons of animal waste; facility tries to conceal from university authorities and the public.  (2008) 
163-164 CDC experiments combining bird flu with human flu, creating forms of bird flu directly transmissible between humans.   (2004-?)
165-169, 221 Athens: The Southwestern Poultry Research Center, a BSL-3 facility, helps recreate the extinct 1918 flu.   (2002-2005?) 
220-221 Atlanta—Emory University: Nonfunctional IBC.  (2004)
226 CDC denies info requests of Sunshine Project.   (2005-present)
228 Univ. of GA: Nonfunctional IBC.  (2004) 
138 CDC:  Missing Q fever.   (2005)
AP Atlanta: Lab worker infected with brucella.   (2004) 
HI 138-139 Major problems with records and inventory of germ samples. (2007) 
IA 34 Univ. of Iowa: Unauthorized experiments to create antibiotic-resistant forms of tularemia. (2005)
141 Ames,National Animal Disease Center: Wastewater pipe leak.(2006) 
AP Ames: Brucella exposures.  (2006 & 2007)  
IL 34 Chicago: Univ. Illinois at Chicago BSL-3 lab props open doors (the hell with "containment"—germs need fresh air too.)  (2004) 
150 Univ. of Chicago researcher dies from weakened version of the plague.   (2009)
211 Southern Research Institute (which shipped live anthrax to Oakland Children's Hospital) managing Argonne National Laboratory.  (2004-          )
IN 223 Indiana University: Denial of public access to IBC minutes.   (2004) 
KS Throughout. Little or no actual select agent experience, but a co- conspirator with the Department of Homeland Security in creating a fairy-tale lab, "The NBAF in Wonderland," or "We're Off to See the Wizards." Propaganda still in full flourish; actual accidents must await actual lab operations.  (2006-present)
KY AP Univ. of KY: Plague exposure.   (2006) 
LA 225 Tulane IBC problems.  (2004) 
AP Univ. LA: Brucella exposure.   (2006) 
MA 375 Boston University conceals tularemia infections of three researchers.  (2004-2005) 
383 National Research Council slams NIH environmental impact statement for Boston Univ. BSL-4 lab.   (2007)
AP Grafton, Tufts--Probable botulinum exposure.   (2006)  
AP Lexington: Missing anthrax.   (2004)
AP Jamaica Plain: Glanders bacteria missing.   (2003)
MD 34 NIH-Bethesda: Failure of steam valve in biological waste treatment tanks.   (2004)
6 Multiple headlines about contaminations, releases, and other safety failures at USAMRIID, Fort Detrick.   (2000-2006) 
94 CIA experiments slipping LSD into drinks of American bioweapons researchers.   (1953)
126 Detrick exhaust fan left off.   (2005)
220 Rockville, Institute for Genomic Research: Nonfunctional IBC.  (2004) 
336 Detrick—glanders infection; anthrax releases; chemical dump.  (2000, 2002, 1991-2004) 
337 Over 100 vials of live bacteria found in Detrick dump.   (2003)
337-340 Detrick--security and inventory problems, including discovery of 9,000 uninventoried germ samples.   (1992-2009)
354-355 Tularemia infection of Detrick researcher goes undiagnosed for over two weeks.   (2009)
452-453 Maryland State Police's surveillance (aided by DHS) of Barry Kissin, a Frederick, MD atty. and prominent critic of USAMRIID biodefense facility.   (2005-2008)
AP Detrick--Ebola exposure?  (2004) 
AP Frederick, Southern Research Institute: Anthrax exposure.  (2004) 
AP Walter Reed: Improper disposition tularemia germs.   (2004)
AP Walter Reed: Shipping discrepancy tularemia.  (2005)
AP Walter Reed: Possible plague exposure.   (2005)
AP Walter Reed: Plague exposure.  (2005) 
AP Walter Reed: Water supply leak in plague lab.   (2006)
AP Rockville: Bird flu exposure.   (2007)
MI AP
Royal Oak: Valley fever, brucella exposures. (2006)
AP
Troy, BioPort: Possible anthrax exposures.  (2006)
MO 127 Kansas City, Midwest Research Institute: Leaking anthrax.  (2005) 
140 St. Louis, Washington Univ.: Employees enter plague lab with no protective garb.   (2004)
177-178 Univ. St. Louis: Researcher Mark Buller deliberately breeds mousepox (close relative of smallpox) which defeats existing vaccines and antibiotics.   (2003)
217 Kansas City, Midwest Research Institute--no IBC.  (2004) 
AP Kansas City--Missing anthrax.   (2004)
AP Kansas City, Midwest Research Institute: Missing tularemia.  (2004) 
MS 126 U Miss: Grad student breaks anthrax flask.   (2007)
MT AP Hamilton: Q fever centrifuge leaking.   (2005)
NC 34 Chapel Hill: Exhaust fan fails in BSL-3 lab.   (2005)
225 NC State--IBC problems.  (2004) 
227 Alpha Vax--IBC problems.  (2004) 
228 East Carolina--IBC problems.  (2004) 
228 UNC--IBC problems.  (2004) 
Lenoir, Greer Labs: Missing plague.  (2004) 
AP Probable exposure VEE virus.  (2004) 
NJ 136 Newark, Public Health Research Institute: Plague-infested dead mice go missing. (2005)
138 Newark: Live plague-infested mice go missing. (2008)
AP Trenton: Anthrax inventory discrepancy.  (2006)  
AP Newark: Missing glanders.   (2006)
AP Newark: Missing anthrax.   (2006)
NM 127 Los Alamos: Unauthorized shipment of anthrax from Northern Arizona Univ.   (2001)
140 Notebook (presumably contaminated) removed from monkeypox lab.  (2006) 
217 Albuquerque, Lovelace Respiratory Institute: No IBC until 2008.   (1970s-2008)
AP Albuquerque: Lab workers bitten by plague monkeys.  (2006-2007) 
AP Albuquerque: Staphylococcus missing.  (2003)
NY 4, 15-26 Review of major problems at Plum Island.   (1954-present)
34 Albert Einstein College of Medicine: TB exposure involving Madison Aerosol Chamber.   (2005)
220 Plum Island: No IBC meetings after DHS takeover.   (2004)
220 Rockefeller University: No functional IBC.   (2004)
165-169, 221 Mt. Sinai School of Medicine: 1918 flu recreation.   (2002-2005?)
223 NY State Dept. Health: Inactive IBC.   (2004)
451-453 Buffalo: Prosecution of art professor and genetic modification critic Steven Kurtz as a "bioterrorist."   (2004-2008)
OH 139 Columbus: Explosion of package containing West Nile virus at FedEx facility.  (2003)
173-175
 
Meridian Bioscience accidentally ships 1957 flu to over 6000 labs in 18 countries.  (2004-2005)
220 Columbus, Battelle: No IBC minutes.   (2004)
AP Columbus, Battelle--Inventory discrepancy staphylococcus.  (2004)
AP Toledo: Researcher infected by valley fever.   (2004)
AP Columbus, Battelle: Missing botulinum.  (2005) 
AP Columbus, Battelle: Bird flu exposure.  (2007) 
OK 138 Stillwater: Tularemia-infected mouse goes missing.  (2006) 
PA AP Scranton: Brucella inventory discrepancies.  (2003) 
SC 227 Univ. SC—University operating sham IBC.  (2004) 
AP Irmo, Univ. SC: Missing anthrax.   (2006) 
TN 127, 218-220 Oak Ridge: Unauthorized anthrax work; multiple safety violations in conducting the research.   (1998-2004)
TX 28-37 Texas A&M: Discovery of unreported researcher infections and exposures by the Sunshine Project leads to CDC investigation, discovery of biosafety train wreck, and shutdown of select agent research.  (2006-2007) 
66-69 San Antonio: GAO faults perimeter security at Southwest Foundation, "private" BSL-4 lab.  (2008)
222 San Antonio, Southwest Foundation: IBC problems.   (2004)
231 Southwest Foundation--Sunshine Project files complaint for failure to comply with NIH public access provisions.  (2004)
231-232 U Texas-Austin: Bird flu centrifuge accident.   (2006)
233 U Texas San Antonio--IBC problems.  (2004) 
394-395 Galveston: UTMB secrecy and info denials.   (2003-present)
396-402 Galveston hurricanes and effect on BSL-4 labs.  (2008)
402-408 UTMB-Galveston sponsors secret bill in effort to exempt their biodefense activities from the Texas Public Information Act.  (2009) 
UT 128 Dugway advertises for anthrax fermenters.   (2005) 
290-311 Multiple contamination and safety problems at Dugway, with associated concealments and deceptions.   (1950s-present)
VA AP Manassas: Plague shipping discrepancy.   (2004)
AP Manassas: Brucella shipping discrepancy. (2005)
AP Anthrax shipping discrepancy.  (2005) 
AP VEE shipping discrepancy.  (2005)
AP Richmond: Anthrax shipping discrepancy.  (2005) 
AP Charlottesville: Possible tularemia release.  (2006)
WA 30 Seattle: Problems with Madison Aerosol Chamber cause TB exposures.  (2003)
221-222 Univ. Wash: IBC problems; planning dangerous experiments with 1918 flu.  (2002-2004?)
WI 439-440 Univ. Wisconsin: Researcher suspended from lab work for conducting unauthorized experiments breeding antibiotic resistance into brucella.  (2010)
445-446 Univ. Wisconsin: Yoshihiro Kawaoka's dangerous experiments crossing bird flu and human flu, entitled "At Long Last, The Pandemic Flu Monster We've All Been Waiting For."  (2010)
AP Madison, Univ. WI: Botulinum shipping discrepancy.  (2005)
AP U Wis.: Brucella exposure.  (2006)
WY 223-224 IBC problems.  (2004) 
ASIA 137-138, 146. Three escapes of SARS from high-containment labs, one infecting members of the public and killing a researcher's mother. 
EUROPE

169-173.
 

The Austrian facility of US pharmaceutical company Baxter ships human flu virus samples "contaminated" with bird flu to several European facilities.   (2003-2004)
United Kingdom 39-42 FMD release from "world class" research facility causes significant outbreak, with an estimated economic loss of 147 million pounds.  (2007)
179 The last recorded smallpox death in the world results from a lab release in 1978. 
USSR 122-125 An accidental release of anthrax spores from a Soviet research facility kills at least 64 people in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg). Soviet authorities conceal the cause of the deaths until 1992.  (1979)

      
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