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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Laboratory Workers and Contacts Warned of Accidental Flu Pandemic

Safety in the laboratory workplace is of critical concern as many research laboratory employees suffer from exotic diseases that become workers' compensation compensable events. Limited knowledge of the facts of the exposures creates yet another level of concern and  anxiety as employees attempt to cope with unusual symptomatology.

Authors Marc Lipsitch and Barry R. Bloom have authored an article appearing in the Journal of the American Society for Microbiology highlighting the potential for a pandemic.

"If accidentally released, mammalian-transmissible influenza A/H5N1 viruses could pose a greater threat to public health than possibly any other infectious agent currently under study in laboratories, because of such viruses’ likely combination of transmissibility and virulence to humans. We advocate explicit risk-benefit assessments before work on such pathogens is permitted or funded, improvement of biosafety practices and enforcement, and harmonization of criteria for permitting such experiments across government agencies, as well as internationally. Such potential pandemic pathogens, as they have been called, jeopardize not only laboratory workers and their contacts, but also the wider population, who should be involved in assessments of when such risks are acceptable in the service of scientific knowledge that may itself bear major public health benefits."

Lipsitch M, Bloom BR. 2012. Rethinking biosafety in research on potential pandemic pathogens. mBio 3(5):e00360-12. doi:10.1128/mBio.00360-12.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.

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