By Matt PreceyBBC NewsTwo workers at a government laboratory scratched themselves with needles risking contamination with the H5N1 bird flu strain, it has been revealed.Both were treated with anti-viral drugs and subsequently tested negative. The incidents at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) at Weybridge in Surrey came to light following a BBC Freedom of Information request. The VLA has reported 80 incidents over five years and continually reviews risk assessments and procedures. In the first incident involving the laboratory worker, a duck dosed with H5N1 was being euthanased when the technician accidentally scratched herself. Risk reviewedA few days later a second worker was injecting eggs with the same flu strain and was accidentally pricked. The incidents were recorded under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) which highlights the risks faced by scientists and technicians working with materials posing a potentially biological hazard. The VLA's chief executive Peter Boriello said it placed "great importance" on health and safety and biosecurity. "A key part of this is working with the HSE to ensure that lessons are learned from RIDDOR reportable incidents." Details of other incidents revealed to the BBC include: a lab worker who was bitten by a rabid mouse a technician bitten by a mouse infected with BSE the banning of work experience students from post-mortem examinations after one was accidentally exposed to Bovine TB damage caused to the anthrax laboratory at Weybridge after it was flooded by a leaking pipe Mr Boriello said risk assessments were constantly reviewed as were standard operating procedures. This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


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