The director who oversaw a government bioterror lab involved in the potential exposure of dozens of workers to anthrax resigned Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed.
Michael Farrell, head of the CDC’s Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory, was reassigned last month amid fallout of revelations that the deadly pathogen was mishandled, potentially exposing dozens of workers.
Farrell had held the post since 2009, said CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes.
An internal investigation revealed five incidents over the last decade involving anthrax, botulism and a deadly strain of the avian flu. The agency announced this month that it had shuttered two labs and placed a moratorium on shipping all deadly pathogens.
The problems, which included storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators, transferring dangerous materials in plastic bags and using expired disinfectants, were detailed in a memo released by the CDC and by another investigation initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to the USDA findings, some of the potentially exposed lab workers were not examined by a CDC clinic for several days.