Image Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
When we have no choice but to rely on the federal government agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for investigations of outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease, how are we to believe we are safe when the CDC shows bias in their research?
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for their persistence for doggedly pursuing the CDC emails for over 3 and a half years in a Freedom of Information Act Request:
In a rare move, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has corrected a journal article it authored about its investigation of the 2011 and 2012 Legionnaires’ outbreak at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
The editor of the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal said the correction last month in the 2015 article was the result of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s series in December that revealed that CDC officials involved in the investigation held biases against two Legionnaires’ experts who used to work at the VA, as well as the disinfectant system that the VA had been using to control Legionella.
That bias, the series disclosed, appears to have affected the way the VA not only investigated the outbreak — which sickened 22 veterans leading to the death of six of them — but how it ultimately reported its findings. It blamed the copper-silver ionization disinfectant system for the outbreak instead of the people who managed and maintained it for the VA.
Those findings contradicted a VA Inspector General report in 2013 that found that the outbreak was due to poor management generally and poor maintenance of the copper-silver system specifically — not that the copper-silver system itself had failed. The system is considered the gold-standard in the industry.