Things go missing on a daily basis, and the news more often than not goes unnoticed. However, when what is missing is a vial containing a potentially deadly virus, odds are that both the media and the online community will be taken by storm.
Not to beat about the bush, the news has just broken that researchers working with the University of Texas' Medical Branch are now busy trying to pin down the whereabouts of a vial containing a strain of the Guanarito virus.
The vial allegedly went missing from a laboratory, and pretty much everybody appears to be lost for words when asked to explain what has happened to it.
Daily Mail informs us that the researchers in charge of keeping a close eye on this vial first discovered that it was missing towards the beginning of last week. Still, it took a while for the news to reach the general public.
Investigations carried out by local police officers have thus far failed in collecting evidence that might suggest that the laboratory has been broken into and that somebody has stolen the vial.
Having ruled out foul play, the authorities suspect that the vial was somehow accidentally destroyed while the laboratory was being cleaned.
The strain of the Guanarito virus found inside the missing vial is known to have caused several outbreaks in Venezuela. Thus, several of the people who were affected by this virus strain ended up developing hemorrhagic fever.
By the looks of it, rats in Venezuela were the ones responsible for these outbreaks. Still, there is no proof that such rodents in the US might become carriers and later on infect people in this part of the country.
As was to be expected, the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were called in. Hopefully, their working together with University of Texas researchers will ultimately lead to the vial's being found.