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CDC grapples with lab safety lapses

There are safety concerns inside some of the laboratories at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says three recent incidents have prompted him to take drastic actions to ensure safety. He's calling the safety lapses "serious and troubling."

An investigation found a number of problems at the labs. Among the findings was a lack of standard operating procedures, a lack of adequate laboratory oversight of scientist performing work in the labs, a lack of an approved study plan and use of unapproved sterilization techniques. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shut down some of its laboratories where recent safety lapses took place. One of the closed labs was involved an incident last month that could have accidentally exposed workers in three labs to anthrax.  The CDC has issued a moratorium of biological materials from labs in Atlanta to other facilities effective immediately. The moratorium will remain in place pending review by an advisory committee.

While finalizing this report, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of non-pathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at the CDC influenza laboratory with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were no exposures as a result of that incident.  The CDC influenza laboratory is now closed and will not reopen until adequate procedures are put in place. Further investigation, review, and action are underway. 

The most recent incident involved Smallpox. Six vials found in a storage room that was being cleaned out at a facility in Maryland. The CDC confirmed today that two of the six vials of smallpox were “alive.” They were dated February 10, 1954. The vials should have been destroyed but were not. They are now at a lab in Atlanta where they will be obliterated.

Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters today that the CDC will do whatever it takes to prevent future lab mishaps. He says the CDC will review each lab and discipline those who disregarded protocols and didn't report problems promptly.

"We need to look at our culture of safety at all of our laboratories," says Frieden. He says they will implement new systems to prevent incidents in the future.  Frieden has named a new head of lab security, who will report directly to him. He's also creating an external advisory group on laboratory safety.

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  • The Latest on the Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law (all times EDT): 7:15 p.m. Threats of opposition from three Republican senators are casting doubt on whether GOP leaders have enough support to move ahead on the Senate health care bill. The Senate has to hold a procedural vote to move forward, most likely on Wednesday. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine tweeted after the Congressional Budget Office analysis on Monday that the Senate bill won't fix the flaws in the current bill. She says she will vote no on the 'motion to proceed.' Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says he has 'a hard time believing I'll have enough information for me to support a motion to proceed this week.' Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says it's worse to 'pass a bad bill than to pass no bill.' Republicans can't afford more than two defections. ___ 6:35 p.m. The White House says the Congressional Budget Office's projection that 22 million more people will be uninsured in 2026 'must not be trusted blindly.' The White House is again trying to undermine the analysis of the CBO, questioning the office's predictions that millions of more Americans would be uninsured under a Senate health care proposal compared with President Barack Obama's health care law. The White House says the CBO 'has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how health care legislation will impact insurance coverage.' It says the office has a 'history of inaccuracy,' and cites its 'flawed report on coverage, premiums and predicted deficit arising out of Obamacare.' ___ 6:30 p.m. Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono is decrying the Republican health care bill as 'mean, ugly' a day ahead of her own surgery. Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Hirono says people typically figure health insurance is a concern for someone else until they get sick. Hirono announced in May that she was being treated for kidney cancer. She says she will have surgery Tuesday to remove a lesion on her rib. But first she joined several Democratic senators in criticizing the GOP health care bill, saying it was a 'tax cut for the rich bill.' Hirono says health care is a right, not a privilege. And in light of the budget analysis that found 22 million more Americans would be uninsured, Hirono says, 'it's as bad as we thought.' ___ 6 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focusing on the tax cuts, deficit reduction and lower premiums cited in a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate's health care bill, and making no mention of the 22 million more Americans who would be uninsured. McConnell put out a brief statement Monday after the release of the Congressional Budget Office report. He says Americans need relief from the 'failed Obamacare law,' and says the Senate will soon act on a bill to give Americans better care. The Kentucky Republican says the bill would lower premiums by 30 percent in 2020, cut taxes by $700 billion and reduce the deficit by $331 billion. His statement omits any mention of the CBO prediction that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured in 2026 than under President Barack Obama's health care law. ___ 4:20 p.m. The Senate health care bill would result in 22 million more uninsured Americans over the next decade compared to current law. That's according to an analysis Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The figure may further complicate Senate GOP leaders' plans to pass their bill this week. It's barely an improvement upon the health care bill that passed the House — which would have resulted in 23 million more uninsured. Several GOP senators have said they want to see their bill cover more people than the House version. And President Donald Trump himself called the House bill 'mean' — though he's lent his support to the Senate version and is lobbying for passage. ___ 2:15 p.m. The nation's largest doctors' group is outlining its opposition to the Senate Republican health care bill. The American Medical Association sent a letter Monday to Senate leaders saying the draft legislation violates the medical oath to 'first, do no harm.' The letter says the Republican plan is likely to lead to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care for low- and middle-income patients. The doctors' group says the Senate bill's Medicaid payment formulas threaten to 'limit states' ability to address the health care needs of their most vulnerable citizens' and won't keep up with new medical innovations and epidemics such as the opioid addiction crisis. The letter is signed by Dr. James L. Madara, the group's CEO. The AMA has about a quarter-million members. __ 2 p.m. One of the nation's biggest health insurers says the Senate health care bill will 'markedly improve' the individual insurance market's stability and moderate premium hikes. Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem says the bill will help in part by appropriating money for cost-sharing reduction payments and eliminating a health insurance tax. Cost-sharing reduction payments help cover expenses like deductibles for people with modest incomes. President Donald Trump has discussed ending these payments, and insurers planning to return to the exchanges next year want a guarantee that the payments also will return. Anthem Inc. sells coverage in key markets like New York and California. It has said tough market conditions have forced it to pull out of exchanges in three states for 2018: Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. __ 1:10 p.m. Senate Republicans have issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. Under the new package, people who lacked coverage for at least 63 days in the past year and then buy a policy would face a six-month delay before it takes effect. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his initial measure last week. It had no penalty for people who let their coverage expire. The waiting period is designed to prompt healthy people who might not otherwise buy insurance to do so. That helps insurance companies pay for sicker customers who are more expensive to cover. McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate by the end of this week, but some Republicans are rebelling. __ 12:55 p.m. An outside group backing President Donald Trump will begin targeting more Republican holdouts on the Senate's health care bill. America First Policies is expanding its campaign against Nevada Sen. Dean Heller to include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Those lawmakers came out against the bill as written when it was made public last week. A senior official with America First Policies says online and social media ads will remind voters that Republicans have promised to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation. The official demanded anonymity to discuss the plan. The group also is preparing radio and television ads to run ahead of the vote, which could come at the end of this week. — Julie Bykowicz __ 11:19 a.m. A conservative Republican senator who doesn't back the GOP health care bill is using unusually sharp tones to criticize party leaders. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is accusing top Republicans of trying to jam the legislation through the Senate. He says the leadership effort is 'a little offensive' and says conservatives haven't had input into the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation last week rolling back much of President Barack Obama's health care law. Johnson is among four conservatives and a moderate who said they don't back the measure but haven't ruled out supporting it if it's changed. McConnell is working this week to make revisions to win over votes. The bill will win approval if just two of the 52 Senate Republicans support it. All Democrats oppose it. __ 10:54 a.m. A nonpartisan group representing Republican and Democratic state officials who administer Medicaid programs says the GOP health care legislation advancing toward a Senate vote will not work. In a strongly worded statement that reflects the 'unanimous' views of its board, the National Association of Medicaid Directors said the Republican health care bill would be 'a transfer of risk, responsibility, and cost to the states of historic proportions.' While the group's members differ over the concept of federal spending limits on the health program for low-income people, the board agreed that the inflation adjustments in the Senate bill 'are insufficient and unworkable.' Medicaid has become perhaps the key sticking point in the congressional debate. The group said Congress should focus on stabilizing insurance markets for now, and tackle Medicaid overhaul later in a more thoughtful manner. __ 2:54 a.m. Senate Republicans skeptical about a GOP health overhaul bill are expressing some doubt about holding a vote on the measure this week. Lawmakers are awaiting a key analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. President Donald Trump is making a final push to fulfill a key campaign promise, insisting that Republicans are not 'that far off' and signaling that last-minute changes are coming to win votes. So far, five Republican senators are expressing opposition to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama's health law. That's more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The holdouts are expressing willingness to negotiate, but many of them are pushing revisions that could risk alienating moderate Republicans in the process.
  • Police are looking for the person who sprayed bullets into a home filled with children. Newnan police told Channel 2 Action News that four girls were inside the home on Reynolds Street having a sleepover when someone outside fired a gun into the home around 11:30 p.m. Two of the girls, both 11, were hit by gunfire. 'We ask you to have a heart, understand that we want to speak to you. We will hopefully track down leads and locate you and this is your opportunity to come forward and let us know what happened in your own words,' said Newnan's deputy police chief. Kocoyo Elder, who lives in the neighborhood, was home watching TV with her grandkids when she heard the gunshots. 'We paused the TV and we heard the sirens, and we came on the porch and saw a lot of police and there were a lot of people walking this way,' she said as she described the scene to Channel 2's Lori Wilson. One of the girls were hit in the cheek, the other was shot in the thigh. They were taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Both are listed as stable. TRENDING STORIES: From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Teen missing for more than a year found at Duluth home Police continue to search for duo seen punching woman, daughter One of the girls' mothers was home at the time. 'When you arrive and you find that two 11-year-old girls were enjoying a sleepover with family and freinds and they've been shot now, that tugs at your heart,' Deputy Chief Cooper said. Investigators believe the gun used was a 9mm. Police were able to count seven bullet holes in the home. 'I couldn't sleep until I got up this morning and knew they was OK,' one of the mothers said. Neighbors are hoping for justice but worry about an attempt at retaliation. 'It grieves my spirit knowing that two young ladies could have possibly lost their life in this area. That's not right,' said Pastor Render Godfrey, who lives in the area. More than anything, they want the violence to stop. One neighbor who asked Wilson to go by her first name Jackie says she constantly worries living in this area. 'I've been terrified for years because every other month there's always something going on,' she said.
  • The son of former Atlanta Braves infielder Keith Lockhart is fighting for his life after he was hit in the face with a baseball.According to a post by the family on social media, Jason Lockhart, 15, was hit on June 17 when he was playing in a baseball tournament in South Carolina.Channel 2 Action News has learned when Lockhart touched home plate, the catcher was throwing the ball back to the pitcher. It hit Jason in the face, breaking his nose.In a Facebook post written by his sister, we learned Jason was initially given stitches but on June 19 when he visited the doctor's office for X-rays, his nose began to bleed profusely. Doctors could not stop the bleeding and even after going to urgent care, he was ultimately taken to the Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta.A CT scan determined the fracture was more severe than doctors originally thought. The results showed a laceration on his artery. Sydney Lockhart says a surgeon was brought in to stitch up a laceration in his nose and reset his broken nose the next day.In an update on Wednesday, Sydney Lockhart wrote that an artery was cut by the fracture and Jason was sedated for two days. He was put on a ventilator to help his body rest but the bleeding continued.On Friday, he was heavily sedated in a paralytic state and put on life support so doctors could monitor and contain any bleeding. In Facebook post written by his mother, she said doctors determined the blood was coming from his nose, not his brain. Jason also developed a fever, which doctors say is common when the body is fighting a condition as severe as this.Jason was originally scheduled to have surgery Monday but doctors have moved it to Tuesday according to his sister's Facebook page. Sydney Lockhart says although there was no bleeding since Sunday's surgery, his body is responding a bit slower than anticipated. Doctors are also backing off several medications, according to the post written Monday afternoon.The procedure is to remove and replace packing in his nose and will closely look inside to figure out if there is an area behind the packing that could cause more bleeding. TRENDING STORIES: From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Teen missing for more than a year found at Duluth home Police continue to search for duo seen punching woman, daughter Support has been flooding social media with messages from inside the baseball community to friends and family.Keith Lockhart played several seasons for the Braves.Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz issued a statement on Twitter offering prayers for Jason and his family and encouraged fans to do the same.The family asks for prayers and support saying:We are really staying positive that this is the best way to give Jason the most comfort possible and the least stress. Thank you again for standing with us in the biggest and scariest situation our family has ever encountered. With Love and Appreciation, The Lockhart family Our top 3 requests or goals right now are: 1. Keeping Jason at this calm paralytic state with no movements 2. No bleeding 3. Making it to Monday and letting Jason's body do all the clotting itself Thanks so much for all the outpouring prayers & support for Jay. It's been rough, a few surgeries but we're confident he's going to be ok.-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 24, 2017 Jason had a good night last night still had some bleeding but manageable no surgery. Hoping and praying for the same today.#staystrongJ-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 24, 2017 Jason just came out of surgery Dr.'s located 3 areas of bleeding &stopped the flow of blood. We are all encouraged about today!#staystrongJ-- Keith Lockhart (@klocky7) June 25, 2017 I don't think y'all understand how much of a champion this child is 💛 pic.twitter.com/TaGn7XPFq5-- syds (@SydneyLockhart) June 21, 2017 Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz statement on Jason Lockhart, son of Braves alumni @klocky7: pic.twitter.com/JiIxyZgoN1-- Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 26, 2017
  • Albania's left-wing Socialist Party has secured a second mandate in a general election, winning a majority of seats in parliament, nearly complete results showed Tuesday. The election is seen as a key benchmark to the country's bid to launch membership negotiations with the European Union. The Central Election Commission said that with more than 95 percent of the ballots counted, the governing Socialists of Prime Minister Edi Rama had won about 48 percent of the votes, or 74 places in the 140-seat parliament. The previous government was a coalition of the Socialists and the Socialist Movement for Integration, or LSI, often creating problems for Rama. The opposition Democratic party of Lulzim Basha won 29 percent, or 43 seats. The LSI is third with 19 seats. Turnout in Sunday's election fell to 46.6 percent, 7 points lower than in 2013. International observers who monitored the polling hailed the generally calm campaign and voting, but also noted the continued political fight that has negative impacts on the country's democracy. The U.S. embassy in Tirana said that the incidents 'were not so widespread as to change the overall outcome of the elections.' Federica Mogherini, EU's foreign policy chief, and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn urged the new Cabinet to continue the reform process. 'The continuation of the justice reform and the fight against drug trafficking and cultivation will be of particular importance in this respect,' their statement said. The governing Socialists had agreed in May to give the opposition Democrats a greater role in oversight on election transparency. The two parties also pledged to work together toward eventually joining the European Union. Rama had pledged that his new cabinet would work hard on a reform agenda to root out corruption and fight drug trafficking, achieve faster economic growth, improve pay and lower unemployment. The nation of 2.9 million, a NATO member since 2009, received EU candidate status in 2014. ___ Follow Semini at http://twitter.com/lsemini .
  • Slightly more Europeans now view the United States unfavorably under President Donald Trump than favorably, according to a survey of public attitudes in three dozen countries that comes as Trump prepares for a return visit to the continent early next month. The Pew Research Center survey released Monday also found scant confidence outside the U.S. in Trump's leadership on the world stage, with many opposing his plans to build a wall along the U.S-Mexico border and withdraw the United States from international climate change and trade agreements. Trump likely would be heartened by the fact that a majority said they see him as a strong leader, but that positive view was outweighed by even larger majorities who view the real estate developer and former reality TV star as arrogant, intolerant or dangerous. Last year, a median of 61 percent held a favorable opinion of the U.S. across France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, compared with 26 percent who held unfavorable views. Since Trump, who has held office for five months, opinion in these countries was 46 percent positive to 52 percent negative. The change marked the first time since the final year of George W. Bush's presidency in 2008 that the public in these European countries has expressed more unfavorable than favorable views of the U.S., the survey found. Bush's ratings fell after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 and never fully recovered in some countries, where he was viewed as engaging in 'cowboy diplomacy.' The shift in European attitudes was disclosed less than two weeks before Trump visits Poland and Germany after the Fourth of July holiday to meet with U.S. allies and other leaders. Trump's first overseas trip as president last month took him to the Middle East and Belgium and Italy, where he lectured NATO allies about increasing their defense spending. He also disappointed European and other leaders by refusing to recommit to a landmark climate agreement that the U.S. and other nations had agreed to in 2015. Trump announced shortly after returning to Washington that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate pact. The survey also found scant confidence outside the U.S. in Trump's ability to lead on the world stage, with fewer than 3 in 10 respondents, or 22 percent, expressing confidence. Pew has produced the survey annually since 2002, during Bush's first term. Monday's edition is the first conducted since Trump took office in January. According to the survey, a median of 22 percent across all 37 countries surveyed expressed confidence that Trump will do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. That means that if the results from each country are ranked in order, 22 percent is the midpoint, with the percentage expressing confidence in Trump falling above or below that point in equal numbers of countries. The 22 percent rating also marks a steep drop from the closing years of Barack Obama's presidency, when a median of 64 percent expressed confidence in Obama's global leadership. The results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted among 40,447 respondents in 37 countries in all regions of the world between Feb. 16 and May 8. The survey found widespread disapproval of some of Trump's major policies. The promised U.S.-Mexico border wall is opposed by a median of 76 percent across all 37 countries, rising to 94 percent in Mexico. More than 7 in 10 disagree with Trump's proposals to pull the U.S. out of a landmark climate change agreement and withdraw from multinational trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trump has pulled the U.S. out of both agreements, although the survey was conducted before his June 2 announcement on exiting the Paris climate accord. More than 60 percent disapprove of Trump's proposal for a temporary ban on people entering the U.S. from six majority Muslim countries. More than half the respondents in four countries — Hungary, Israel, Poland and Russia — support the proposal. Opposition was strong in several largely Muslim countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Senegal. U.S. courts had blocked two versions of Trump's travel ban, but he won a partial victory Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court said he could go forward with a limited version of the ban. The high court also agreed to hear arguments in the case in October. The ban applies to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. While 55 percent see Trump as a strong leader, larger majorities of those surveyed said they see him as arrogant, 75 percent; intolerant, 65 percent; and dangerous, 62 percent. ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • Asian stocks were mostly higher in range-bound trade on Tuesday after Wall Street closed mixed, while Asian tech shares mirrored losses in U.S. peers overnight. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to 20,225.09 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,391.95. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged 0.1 percent lower to 25,852.77. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 3,191.20. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent to 5,714.20. Stocks fell in Taiwan were lower but gained in Singapore and the Philippines. ANALYST'S TAKE: 'Heading into the half-way mark for 2017, the absence of tier-one data releases or a coherent theme in markets is hard to ignore. On the whole, a fading external demand boost from earlier in the year may be gaining some attention,' Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. TECH SLIDE: Some Asian tech shares tracked the sector's losses on Wall Street overnight. Tech stocks were among the biggest decliners Monday, reflecting indecisiveness over the sector, said Jingyi Pan of IG. LG Electronics Inc. fell 3.3 percent while SoftBank Group declined 0.1 percent and Sharp Corp. dropped 0.5 percent. WALL STREET: Wall Street closed mostly higher Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was nearly flat at 2,439.07. The Dow gained 0.1 percent to 21,409.55 while the Nasdaq composite index slid 0.3 percent to 6,247.15. CENTRAL BANKERS: Investors will pay attention to upcoming remarks by central bankers around the world but do not expect major revelations on monetary policies. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, is scheduled to speak at the ECB forum in Sintra, Portugal, later in the day. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak in London. OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to $43.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 37 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $43.38 a barrel on Monday. Brent, the international standard, gained 40 cents to $46.44 per barrel in London. CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.48 yen from 111.84 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1219 from $1.1185.