This Is How The Outbreak Happens…

| Working | January 21, 2016

(I work in a lab that studies a particular animal disease. As such, our lab has designated disease rooms where lab coats and gloves are required. Anything set down on the floor or counters is considered to be contaminated, and cannot leave the room. Naturally, access to these rooms is restricted, but the doors are not locked. I am working in a disease room when a sales rep for a scientific equipment company walks in.)

Sales Rep: “Hello, my name is [Name] and I represent [Company]. I would like to talk to you about our new 50ml conical tubes.” *pulls two plastic tubes and sets them on the counter*

Me: “Umm… ma’am, you can’t be in here. This is a [Disease] positive room.”

Sales Rep: “Oh! I didn’t know that!” *grabs the tubes and is about to stuff them back into her bag*

Me: “No, no, no! Those are contaminated; they have to stay in here now.”

Sales Rep: “Oh, sorry!” *sets the tubes back down* “I’m not a biologist; I got my degree in chemistry.” *runs out*

(Chemistry degree or not, I don’t know how she could have missed the bright orange “Biohazard,” “Restricted Access,” and “Proper Protective Equipment Required” signs at eye level on the doors.)

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