Vial Containing Guanarito Virus Missing from Research Facility, an Act of Bioterrorism?

Vial Missing Galveston

A vial containing a deadly virus strain has come up missing from a secure laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas.

The vial containing Guanarito Virus, was discovered missing during a routine inspection. Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were notified immediately after it was known the vial was not there.

UTMB officials told the AP that there appeared to be no breach in the facility’s security and no indication of wrongdoing, and that they “suspect the missing vial containing the Guanarito virus was destroyed during the lab’s cleaning process.”

Meanwhile, the university is still investigating the incident and is reviewing its security process to ensure that their researchers and employees, as well as the community, will remain safe and secure.

UTMB officials said in a statement, “There’s no reason to believe there’s a threat to the public.”

“The medical branch says the virus, native to Venezuela, is transmitted only through contact with Venezuelan rats. It is not believed to be able to survive in US rodents or to be transmitted person-to-person,” the AP said.

Dr. Marc Siegel from Fox News reports that this missing vial containing the deadly Guanarito virus will not jump species.  The one thing he did point out, while this virus is deadly in rats in Venezuela, the question to ask is this an act of bioterrorism?

“A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other harmful agents used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants.”

He added that the biggest risk in bioterrorism is in a lab mistake or lab error. While we can defend against terrorist, it’s harder to defend against scientist who have gone awire.

Guanarito Virus, native to Venezuela from 1989 to 2006 when it presented with 618 cases, can have symptoms that include:

  • Malaise
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle aching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hemorrhage

The disease is spread through inhaling aerosolized droplets of saliva, urine, respiratory secretions, and blood from infected rodents. The most common natural hosts were short-tailed cane mice.

Inquisitr reported, Guanarito virus is one of the diseases derived from the family Arenaviruses, which can vary in severity in subgroups of Old World and New World viruses. All types of viral hemorrhagic fevers are characterized by fever and bleeding disorders. All can progress to high fever, shock, and death. There can be milder cases of the condition.

Vial Of Deadly Virus Goes Missing From Texas Laboratory – Guanarito Virus

Vial Of Deadly Virus Goes Missing From Texas Laboratory – Guanarito Virus

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