The recent furor over the mishaps at the CDC and FDA storage facilities have caught the attention of the scientific community and the indignation of Congress.

The incident at the CDC that precipitated the outcry was the shipping in mid-June of live anthrax cultures (which were supposed to be killed) to a laboratory not equipped to safely handle Bacillus anthracis. This, of course, was a potentially deadly error.

The FDA mishap involved the discovery of viable smallpox virus, dated 1954, stored in an unused portion of a storage room in an FDA laboratory located on the NIH Bethesda campus; dengue virus, Rickettsia (spotted fever group) and Coxiella burnetii (the cause of Q fever) were also found in storage in the same location.