Facing scrutiny of its self-policing of safety problems at a $214 million bioterror lab, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now considering having an outside agency examine biosafety and biosecurity at its labs. The agency also is taking action to address fire code violations -- dating back to December 2010 -- that could trap workers inside labs during an emergency because of excessive negative air pressure that makes some doors difficult to open. The CDC currently inspects its own high-containment laboratories, which work with dangerous infectious agents such as anthrax, monkeypox and SARS. Read my full USA TODAY article: CDC considers outside checks on labs
The actions come after USA TODAY obtained internal CDC documents showing the agency's Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory in Atlanta, also called Building 18, has had a series of problems with important air flow systems that help prevent dangerous pathogens from being released. On Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched a bipartisan investigation into the issues described in USA TODAY's report. The committee has given CDC director Thomas Frieden until July 6 to produce a wide range of documents about safety issues in Building 18, according to a letter sent Monday.