2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Tim Murphy, (R) Pennsylvania:
"As Yogi Berra said, it's like deja vu all over again. Last year, we held a similar hearing on a CDC anthrax incident that potentially exposed dozens of CDC researchers to live anthrax due to the fact that established safety procedures were not followed. During the hearing, CDC Director Frieden testified, "we will take every step possible to prevent any future incident that could put our laboratory scientists and the public at risk." Yet here we are again today."
3. Various of hearing
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Tim Murphy, (R) Pennsylvania: ++STARTS OFF-CAMERA++
"As I said a year ago, what we have here is a pattern of recurring issues of complacency and a lax culture of safety. Last year, CDC Director Frieden stated that this was a wakeup call. However, it appears that critical government agencies have hit the snooze button once again."
5. Various of hearing
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Daniel Sosin, CDC Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer: ++STARTS OFF-CAMERA++
"Although much work has been done to enhance the effectiveness of CDC's regulatory oversight of select agents and toxins, more work remains to be done. Where improvements can be made to better the program, we will make them. Where there is disagreement on the best path forward, we will contribute our scientific and programmatic expertise to the debate. We will work diligently and thoughtfully with all of our federal partners and anyone sharing our commitment to protect Americans from biological threats."
Defense and CDC officials are testifying on Capitol Hill following recent mistaken shipments of live anthrax spores to several facilities.
The problem came to light in May when a private commercial lab in Maryland tested a shipment from the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and found live bacteria.
Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense found that 17 of 33 batches produced at Dugway since 2003 had live anthrax.
Anthrax from those batches was initially sent to 86 labs in the U.S. and seven countries. But some labs sent anthrax on to other facilities. So far, CDC officials say they've traced samples to at least 183 labs.
CDC Deputy Director Daniel Sosin said that moving forward officials will work to make improvements and and work "diligently and thoughtfully" to protect Americans from biological threats.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee expressed concern Thursday that for the second year in a row concerns have been raised about potential anthrax exposure.
Anthrax is a dangerous infectious disease caused by a bacterium found naturally in soil. It is rare, but people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.