The accidental infection of a laboratory worker with the AIDS virus underscores the need to re-emphasize safety procedures, one of the authors of a report on the incident said.
"There was no real strong breach of guidelines in this case," Dr. William Blattner of the National Cancer Institute said. "It was a very subtle situation. One of the messages of the paper is to emphasize this to the laboratory community."
He referred to a report in the Jan. 1 edition of Science magazine that explores how the particular infection could have occurred. After extensive study, researchers were unable to pin down exactly what happened, or when.
While not the focus of the study, the report also notes that a second lab worker was infected by an accidental needle prick.
National Institutes of Health officials disclosed the two incidents in September and October when they were discovered. Neither worker has been named and neither has showed signs of developing symptoms of AIDS.
The report in Science was prepared by Blattner, chief of an environmental epidemiology section at NCI, and Stanley Weiss, a former colleague now affiliated with the New Jersey Medical School, along with several other investigators.