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CDC admits improperly sending dangerous pathogens five times in last decade

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Thomas Frieden of the CDCThe laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, are one of only a few places in the world allowed to handle dangerous pathogens like anthrax and smallpox, and one would think they'd take that responsibility very seriously.

But in a new report outlining protocol breaches, the CDC admitted to having improperly sent dangerous bacterium, viruses or other microorganisms five times over the last decade. That's one potentially deadly mistake every two years.

"These events should never have happened," CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters this week.

"[The American people] may be wondering whether we're doing what we need to do to keep them safe and to keep our workers safe," Frieden continued. "I'm disappointed, and frankly I'm angry about it."

Frieden isn't the only one who's angry. Several dozen people have been put in harm's way as a result of the slip-ups, though no illnesses or injuries have resulted.

"Fortunately none of these incidents resulted in anyone becoming infected or getting sick," Frieden said. "The organisms involved were all safely disposed of."


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