Hawaii state laboratory
destroys deadly flu sample

Hawaii's state laboratory was among nearly 5,000 in the United States and other countries that received vials of a 1957 killer flu virus as part of a testing program.

The laboratory, operated by the state Health Department, received the unknown sample in two vials in February and destroyed them Monday, said Dr. David Horio, laboratory chief.

He said the lab gets an unknown sample once a year as part of a program by the American College of Pathologists to test a laboratory's ability to identify if the sample has a flu virus and what type it is.

"Normally, we take it to a level of just determining if it is influenza A or B. We determined it was influenza A," Horio said. The samples normally are kept until the lab gets an answer from the college about its test results, he said.

He said his lab received a message Friday from the Association of Public Health Laboratories that a Canadian lab had further identified the test sample as a 1957 H2N2 "Asian flu" strain that killed millions of people.

The American College of Pathologists and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined any remaining samples at labs should be destroyed, Horio said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
State Department of Health

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