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Researchers who found glass vials of live smallpox in a federal government lab also found more than 300 vials labeled as other potentially deadly germs, including dengue fever, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. "The investigation found 12 boxes containing a total of 327 carefully packaged vials labeled with names of various biological agents such as dengue, influenza, Q fever, and rickettsia," the FDA said in a statement. The smallpox samples have already been tested and, to the surprise of many, were still viable, or alive.
The vials were in a walk-in cold room on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, but had been turned over to FDA and was not frequently accessed. "The fact that these materials were not discovered until now is unacceptable," said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.