CDC raises concerns after UH med school inspection


HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii’s medical school has until Monday to address concerns federal officials have raised about its biosafety lab.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has threatened to suspend the medical school’s ability to conduct research on highly contagious diseases after an inspection earlier this year, Hawaii News Now reported.

The inspection conducted in March found 30 safety infractions and said infighting among staffers at the Hawaii lab has undermined its readiness in case of a bioterror attack.

The inspection also found that UH failed to implement many new safety regulations that were put into place a year ago.

University officials said they are addressing the concerns and will respond to the CDC by Monday’s deadline.

“We do not believe that any of the CDC’s findings pose a risk to the health and safety of our personnel or the public at large,” UH spokeswoman Talia Ogliore said.

UH-Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple found out about the inspection report Friday, five days after it was first issued. But he said he’s confident that UH officials will be able to address the CDC’s concerns.

“We want to make sure we comply and we’re looking at things that need to be improved,” Apple said.

“We’ll be able to work on them to make sure the labs are working properly,” he said.

State Sen. Sam Slom said there are 30 specific demands that must be met in a week, and he doesn’t know if the university is capable of meeting them.

“This is a lack of management and lack of leadership. It’s got to be changed,” the Hawaii Kai Republican said.