Deerfield, IL-based Baxter International has confirmed that vaccine shipments sent to subcontractors in Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany were contaminated with live H5N1 avian flu viruses. The contaminated product, which Baxter calls "experimental virus material," was a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and H5N1 viruses produced at the company's research facility in Orth-Donau. The problem was discovered when ferrets inoculated with the experimental mix died. Baxter was notified on February 6, but has kept quiet about the details surrounding the mix-up, the Canadian Press reports.
Reuters AlertNet - European lab accidents raise biosecurity concerns
* European states urged to improve lab accident disclosure
* Northern Europe reports most lab-acquired infections
- Lab accidents involving bird flu and Ebola viruses have increased biosecurity fears in Europe, where public health experts say research on dangerous pathogens needs to be more strictly monitored. A scientist in Germany last week pricked herself with a needle that was believed to be contaminated with a strain of the Ebola haemorrhagic virus with a mortality rate of around 90 percent. She is still under observation in hospital.
That accident added to public health concerns following the recent disclosure that deadly H5N1 bird flu virus samples were mixed with seasonal flu samples at a Baxter International
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