Military Lab Accidentally Ships Live Anthrax

Samples went from Utah to labs around country, plus one in South Korea
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2015 6:15 PM CDT
Military Lab Accidentally Ships Live Anthrax
A file photo of military experts demonstrating anthrax clean-up techniques in Washington.   (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert, File)

Workers at a commercial lab in Maryland got an unwelcome surprise upon receiving a sample of supposedly dead anthrax from the military. The spores were very much alive, reports CNN. It turns out that an Army lab in Dugway, Utah, shipped out samples to labs in nine states over the last week—Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California, and Virginia—as well as to a military base in South Korea, reports AP. It's not clear yet whether all the samples from Utah were live, but the best guess is that most were. Nevertheless, federal officials say that the situation is now under control.

"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," says a Pentagon spokesman. Still, four defense workers who handled samples are in what CNN calls "post-exposure treatment" as a precaution. The investigation began after the private lab in Maryland, which was working with the military to develop tests for biological agents, raised the alarm to the CDC. "Although an inactivated agent was expected, the lab reported they were able to grow live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax)," says the agency. (More anthrax stories.)

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