Lucky break for lab worker in latest CDC safety blunder

Health officials say a federal lab technician who was possibly exposed to the Ebola virus as a result of a lab mishap last month did not get sick.

Ebola symptoms usually strike within three weeks of infection, and it has now been more than 21 days since the incident Dec. 22. Officials said Tuesday that the employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta hasn't shown any symptoms.

Officials feared the technician may have been accidentally exposed when a small amount of live Ebola virus was mistakenly moved to a CDC lab that was not properly equipped to handle it.

A CDC spokesman said a report on the incident is expected later this month.

The agency also is trying to hire someone to oversee laboratory science and safety following a series of other serious lapses last year.

In June, as many as 84 workers at a CDC bioterror research lab in Atlanta were potentially exposed to live anthrax after safe transfer protocols were not followed. More than 50 workers took antibiotics as a precaution, but no illnesses were reported.

Two other CDC labs were temporarily shuttered in July after officials learned that highly infectious samples of bird flu virus were not handled properly.