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CDC Probes A&M; Bioweapons Infections

Dallas Morning News
Ramshaw, Emily


Texas A&M; University is under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for neglecting to report instances in which researchers were infected with biological weapons agents last year. While examining universities interested in becoming home to the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, The Sunshine Project watchdog group learned of one researcher who was infected with Brucella in February 2006 and three researchers who were exposed to Q fever two months later; only the Brucella case was reported to the CDC, but the report was not made until this year. Brucella and Q fever are not considered deadly or contagious--sparking hard-to-cure fevers and flu-like symptoms--but The Sunshine Project is concerned about what the unreported cases mean for the bioweapons research industry. Edward Hammond, director of The Sunshine Project, asserted: "The A&M; problems, I think, are symptomatic of a larger problem, and that's that we are putting literally thousands and thousands of people behind the wheel of this apparatus to study biological weapons agents. They don't have the experience, and we don't have the proper legislative framework to do it safely." The Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health gave Texas A&M; millions in funding to research vaccines for these biological agents.

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