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Russian lab worker dies from Ebola

A researcher in a heavily guarded Siberian virology laboratory died after pricking herself with a syringe containing the deadly Ebola virus, a spokeswoman from the lab said.
/ Source: Reuters

A researcher in a heavily guarded Siberian virology laboratory died after pricking herself with a syringe containing the deadly Ebola virus, a spokeswoman from the lab said on Tuesday.

“It was an accident or an unlucky coincidence. Her hand just slipped and she jabbed herself,” the spokeswoman said.

Ebola begins with a high fever and can lead to massive internal bleeding. It kills between 50 and 90 percent of victims, depending on the strain of the virus, for which there is no known cure. It is one of the world’s most feared diseases.

Most outbreaks have occurred in Africa, far from the Siberian lab where the senior technician was experimenting on guinea pigs when the accident happened on May 5. She died two weeks later.

Outbreak prevented, officials say
Set deep in Siberia, a four-hour flight from Moscow, the state-owned Vector research center at Novosibirsk does research into deadly diseases such as SARS and anthrax.

Along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is one of only two places on earth with official stockpiles of smallpox, which killed around 300 million people last century.

After the accident, the woman was hospitalized in a ward specially equipped to contain virulent diseases. Anyone who came into contact with her was put under observation for three weeks.

Her name was not released at her family’s request.

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Health Ministry said the government was satisfied enough had been done to prevent an outbreak.