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100% of ACP Medical Laboratory Evaluation Program Labs Have Destroyed Asian Virus Samples

Friday, April 15, 2005, 5:00 p.m. EDT

PHILADELPHIA -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) Medical Laboratory Evaluation (MLE) program reported that all 173 participating labs that had received a potentially dangerous flu virus, H2N2, have properly destroyed or disposed of these specimens. The virus had been sent to the labs as part of kits manufactured by Meridian Bioscience Inc. to certify laboratory performance.

On Tuesday, April 12, ACP MLE was notified by Meridian Bioscience Inc. that the lab testing specimens included a virus strain that has not been in circulation since 1967, therefore posing a potential health risk to those born after 1968.

Based on the Meridian Bioscience information, ACP MLE staff identified 173 laboratories that had received testing specimens containing the H2N2 strain and immediately notified all labs by e-mail and fax with specific instructions regarding the destruction or disposal of the specimens according to CDC guidelines.  The following day, ACP MLE staff telephoned laboratories that had not responded on Tuesday.

"MLE staff did a great job, and we thank all our participating labs for their quick action. We will continue to work closely with the CDC and follow all guidelines issued by federal and industry authorities to ensure that our participating laboratories minimize potential risk to their staff, their patients and their communities," said Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, ACP vice president, practice advocacy and improvement.

To view a copy of the notification that the ACP MLE program sent to its participating laboratories go to http://www.acponline.org/mle/h2n2.pdf (PDF).

The ACP MLE program is a proficiency testing program to help laboratories evaluate and improve their performance by comparing their results in testing specimens with that of other laboratories performing the same procedures using identical or similar methods.

Susan C. Anderson, 415-978-3585; sanderson@acponline.org

Note to Editor: ACP leadership and communications staff are attending ACP's Annual Session, the yearly educational meeting, this year held in San Francisco. From April 13-16, contact communications staff at the ACP press office in the Moscone Center, 415-978-3585. After April 18, call ACP communications at ACP headquarters in Philadelphia: Allison Ewing 215-351-2649 or Penelope Fuller 215-351-2656.

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