Army Laboratory Accidentally Shipped Live Anthrax To Labs Across The US
An Army laboratory accidentally mailed live samples of anthrax to laboratories in several states and a military base in South Korea.
According to ABC News, samples were shipped from a lab in Utah called Dugway Proving Ground to a military facility in Maryland on April 30.
A commercial shipping company then sent them to eight companies with laboratories in several states: California, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.
Almost a month later, a live sample was detected in the Maryland laboratory and reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 22, the Washington Post reports.
All of the other live samples were secured less than a day later.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said,
There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers.
He went on to explain what the Utah lab was doing with anthrax.
The DoD lab was working as part of a DoD effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment. Out of an abundance of caution, DoD has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation.
The facilities were supposed to receive dead samples of anthrax that are often sent by the Department of Defense for research.
Another possible live sample was sent to the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base.
According to CNN, the base said up to 22 people, including 10 active members of the Army and five active members of the Air Force, were exposed and are now receiving preventative treatment.
Of the South Korea shipment, Warren said,
The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols.
The CDC and Department of Defense are currently investigating what caused the mistake.
Citations: Pentagon Inadvertently Shipped Live Anthrax to Labs in Nine States (ABC News), Live anthrax inadvertently distributed by Army laboratory (The Washington Post), Live anthrax inadvertently shipped by US military to six states (CNN )