Maryland Army Biolab Reports Flaws in Safety Suits

April 2, 2013

An Army laboratory says a maker of biological safety suits is redesigning the outfits after workers at Fort Detrick reported an increase in potential exposures to some of the world’s deadliest pathogens.

The U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick posted the information on its website Friday.

The lab says it had 14 mishaps involving positive-pressure suits last year, compared with nine in 2011.

Six of the 2012 incidents resulted in precautionary medical surveillance of lab workers, although none became ill. There was just one such potential exposure incident in 2011.

The lab says it has identified “performance issues” with one of the two types of suits it uses.

The Army lab says a prototype of the redesigned suit should be available for testing soon.

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