Bader Law Firm | By Noah Bader
Up to 86 Atlanta-based employees for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have been exposed to anthrax, according to the agency. The problem was discovered June 13, 2014 when live anthrax colonies were found on bacterial plates, the CDC said. The possible exposure to the bacteria was the result of improperly inactivating anthrax bacteria samples before moving it to a lab with inferior biosafety standards.
The workers, unaware that the samples were still active, did not wear adequate safety gear while handling them creating the potential for exposure. Exposure to anthrax can produce toxins in the body that cause severe illness or death. Agency officials said the staff members are being monitored or given antibiotics as a precaution against exposure to the disease-causing bacteria. Fortunately, there is no risk of exposure for other CDC staff, family members or the general public, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Should any of the employees exposed to the bacteria become ill, Worker’s Compensation claims are likely to follow. Worker’s Compensation Claims exist when an employee is injured on the job regardless of fault. In this case, it was clearly the fault of the CDC, who acknowledged that it did not even follow its own protocols thereby causing this potentially catastrophic case.
Regardless of whether any workers exposed become ill as a result, all employees involved will be eligible to recover lost wages because of missed work as a result of the event, along with the cost of any medication or treatment received. Certainly though, for any employee who does become sick, they will have an even more broad Worker’s Compensation Claim against the CDC.