Deadly Flu Strain Shipped Worldwide

Health officials worldwide are scrambling to secure a potentially lethal sample of the flu virus sent to over 3,700 laboratories for testing. As part of routine quality control procedures, scientists often order flu samples from private biotechnology companies in order to certify their laboratories. These samples are usually innocuous and safe for testing. As a scientist in Winnipeg, Manitoba discovered last week, however, one particular company sent out the viral strain known as H2N2, which once caused a worldwide outbreak responsible for as many as 4 million deaths. Since the virus has been contained in laboratories since 1968, no one born since that date has developed any natural immunity. The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other public health agencies are calling on all labs in possession of the virus to destroy it. Meanwhile, in locations where the strain has been found, workers are are closely monitored for signs of infection. Officials hope their frantic efforts to secure and destroy the virus samples will be sufficient to prevent another deadly outbreak. – YaleGlobal

Deadly Flu Strain Shipped Worldwide

Officials race to destroy samples
Rob Stein
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Click here for the original article on The Washington Post's website.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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