(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon said Wednesday that live anthrax spores were accidentally shipped to private research laboratories in nine states.
The shipments came from Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and were sent using a private commercial shipper to eight companies with labs in California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
According to a Defense official, a laboratory in Maryland detected that their shipment contained live samples and contacted the CDC.
That triggered a response from the Defense Department and other agencies, including the FBI, to trace the shipments to ensure that they were properly secured.
The official said it is believed that all of the shipments have been secured.
The DOD routinely sends dead anthrax spores or inactivated spores to research facilities. The official said that military laboratories use commercial companies to ship samples of live anthrax to research facilities, but only with the proper bio-level safety protocols.
“The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation,” Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday. “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.”
“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,” Warren added. The Pentagon will also stop shipment of material from its labs pending the end of this investigation.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News