Statement from CDC Leadership:
This incident is a violation of standards of research practice that protect animals and humans and should never have happened. We are deeply disappointed that this occurred, but heartened that as soon as the allegation was raised, CDC took concrete and immediate steps to report, investigate, and address the violation, including permanently banning any involvement by the researcher in animal activities at CDC. CDC has also instituted several procedures to further strengthen safeguards for our workers and animal subjects.
We can strive to strengthen systems and provide support and training for our scientists, but individuals still must make judgments about their actions and take responsibility for those actions.
CDC conducts limited laboratory research with animals to protect the public’s health from deadly disease threats; we continue to reduce our animal research. Animals are only studied when there is no other safe way available to find answers to protect humans from complex infectious diseases.
The men and women who care for our research animals are important contributors to the science of health and should be recognized for that contribution. Their well-being must be uppermost in the minds of researchers as they develop and conduct their study protocols. Worker safety is the foremost priority for the Agency. We know that committed oversight and consistent training help to ensure CDC staff are protected in our laboratories. We encourage our researchers and all CDC employees to be vigilant in knowing what is allowed in research protocols and reporting all possible lapses.
Together, we can protect our workers, our research animals, the integrity of our science, and the public.