FBI and CDC investigating ‘questionable vials’ labeled smallpox found in Pennsylvania lab

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The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are looking into “questionable vials” marked “smallpox” at a Merck research lab in Pennsylvania.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, fifteen vials were discovered in a freezer.

According to Yahoo News, an alert was sent to Department of Homeland Security leadership on Tuesday night, stating that five of the vials were labeled “smallpox” and ten were labeled “vaccinia.”

The discovery of the vials resulted in the facility being placed under lockdown, which has since been lifted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement to CNN, “There is no indication that anyone has been exposed to the small number of frozen vials.”

“The frozen vials labeled ‘Smallpox’ were incidentally discovered by a laboratory worker while cleaning out a freezer in a facility that conducts vaccine research in Pennsylvania. CDC, its Administration partners, and law enforcement are investigating the matter and the vials’ contents appear intact,” it said.

The vast majority of Americans have not been immunised against smallpox, and those who have been vaccinated are likely to have waning immunity.

According to Yahoo, the CDC will arrive on site to take custody of the vials and transport them to another facility for testing.

Smallpox is considered so risky that only two labs in the world are permitted to store virus samples, one in Russia and the other with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Smallpox is declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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