College of American Pathologists

  H2N2 Specimens from CAP PT
  Panels Confirmed Destroyed




Published April 27, 2005

All 3,747 US and international laboratories and health care facilities that received the CAP proficiency testing panels with the influenza A H2N2 virus have confirmed that the specimen samples have been destroyed.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all agreed that the risk to laboratory employees was very low and the risk to the public extremely low. As of April 27, 2005, there had been no reports of influenza-like illness in the United States associated with possible exposure to the proficiency testing samples. The CDC is continuing to work with state and local health departments and with public health laboratories to follow up on any reports of illness among laboratory workers who might have recently handled the H2N2 samples. See the Health Alert Network (HAN) notice of April 15 (available on the CDC Web site at for more information about these follow-up procedures.

Confirmation of the proper destruction of all H2N2 samples contained in the proficiency testing kits effectively ends any risk associated with the distribution of these kits.

To learn more about why the H2N2 samples were included in the proficiency testing kits, the CDC has formed a multi-agency task force that will conduct an extensive investigation into the circumstances that led to Meridian Bioscience’s distribution of these specimens through PT programs sponsored by the College and three other medical organizations.

The College is already working with its vendors to provide the CDC with specific information regarding the materials being used in the CAP PT programs. That list of items will be reviewed annually with the CDC to ensure that materials which may have their Biosafety Level increased are not used. The College will specify with its vendors the particular specimen strains to be used in PT samples.

In addition, the College will continue to work in coordination with the CDC, HHS, and others to help improve the proficiency testing system to prevent an occurrence of a similar event in the future.

If you have questions about this announcement, please contact CAP customer service at 800-323-4040 option 1 #.