Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sleep Well Tonight, Folks...

Stretch sends in this story that should really put your mind at ease about the greatest minds in the government...

Forgotten vials of smallpox found in storage room
A government scientist cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington made a startling discovery last week — decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten in a cardboard box.

The six glass vials were intact and sealed, and scientists have yet to establish whether the virus is dead or alive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
Isn't that just swell? A disease with the potential to wipe out millions and they just forgot about it. Oopsie! Like it was an extra hard drive ordered by accident that got set aside, with every intention of returning it for a refund, only to sit for so long that it faded into the background.

Not, you know, like something with the potential to go very, very badly.

Back in the late 1970s, smallpox was declared beaten. It's been nearly 40 years - essentially two generations - since that declaration. Wonder how many vaccinations have been skipped/omitted in that time frame, given the miniscule attention span of the average human? Imagine if smallpox were to run rampant and claim another 100 million lives a year over the planet.

Now imagine the entry-level dweeb that lost these vials...

That is all.


abnormalist said...

this is one that really bothers me.

I'm part of the first generation without that mark on my shoulder, having never had a real smallpox vaccination.

this also worries me for my kids, as they are part of that second generation.

Anonymous said...

The person who put the vials away and forgot about is long retired with a fat pension. The supervisor and/or manager is either in a nursing home or dead.

Stretch said...

"The CDC and the FBI are investigating."
You can't imagine how reassuring that is ... NOT!

Cargosquid said...

And this is why I'm actually looking into finding a small pox immunization for my daughter. All it takes is one mistake or terrorist attack and it would spread like wildfire.

Geodkyt said...

But we're sure we got all the samples from places like North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc.

Right. Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Amiable Dorsai said...

You find the damnedest things in old labs. The Piscataway Radium Incident is a case in point.

One of my old Physics profs was fond of recounting the story of the time someone at his old university was investigating some old, mysterious, utterly forgotten plumbing and discovered (fortunately without causing a spill) that they were full of mercury at very high pressure. A lesser man (me, probably) would simply have put a bucket under that spigot and looked to see what came out.

The Past was a very different time.

ProudHillbilly said...

Dear folks with scars on your shoulder - if it's been more than, I think, 25 years since you were inoculated you aren't immune any more. So add Boomers to the uninoculated as vulnerable. In other words, pretty much everybody.

Ted said...

As part of the prep for a recent trip to India, we got the required Smallpox booster not quite everybody.

Just ask your doctor for the booster and you're all set ... Oh and get the shingles shot as well while you are there

Cargosquid said...


Well, that means I got SOMETHING by being deployed twice to Kuwait.

Small pox inoculations. Twice. Second time didn't even leave a mark. I TOLD them that I had gotten one just 4 years earlier.

Guess I'll find one for the wife, too.