Today's News

Labs step up precautions for deadly flu virus

The deadly flu virus shipped by Meridian Biosciences to 6,400 labs around the world was in the process of being reclassified by medical authorities for tougher handling standards.

But it's feared some lab workers may not be aware of the stricter standards, possibly making them more susceptible to the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health have been in the process of reclassifying the deadly flu virus — identified as H2N2 — from a level 2 biohazard to a level 3 biohazard.

The reclassification raises concerns that some lab workers might be susceptible to a disease that killed millions of people in a 1957 pandemic because those workers didn't follow procedures that are standard when handling level 3 biohazards.

Level 3 biohazards are routinely handled under hoods or in cabinets by personnel who use respiratory equipment so that they don't come in contact with an airborne virus such as H2N2. Workers are more likely to inhale an airborne substance under level 2 procedures, according to the CDC.

In Canada, where a lab first discovered last month that Meridian had shipped out H2N2, the virus already is considered a level 3 hazard on a four-step scale in which level 4 material is considered most dangerous.

The well-equipped Canadian lab immediately informed Canadian health authorities, who then contacted the CDC.

The CDC, the World Health Organization and other agencies insist that the level of risk is low because the agencies know where the samples were sent and have ordered that the viruses be destroyed.

H2N2 is an Asian flu virus that killed an estimated 1 million to 4 million people in 1957 as a "pandemic" swept around the globe.

Because the same strain hasn't been seen anywhere since 1968, the CDC says few people have immunities to it, raising concerns about the possibility of an outbreak.

No cases have been reported and health officials contend that there is little chance of an outbreak.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0515_cover.jpg

2015 May

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out articles about heat protection, radiation in the workplace, and welding fumes

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2015

ISHN FDO May 2015

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE MAY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.