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
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 #.