US military accidentally ships live Anthrax sample to lab
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US military accidentally ships live Anthrax sample to lab

No workers in Maryland commercial facility have been exposed to lethal substance; Pentagon investigating incident

A photomicrograph of Bacillus anthracis bacteria, the cause of the anthrax disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services/Wikipedia Commons)
A photomicrograph of Bacillus anthracis bacteria, the cause of the anthrax disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services/Wikipedia Commons)

The US military accidentally shipped at least one live Anthrax sample to a commercial lab in Maryland but there was no public threat from the mishap, a defense official said Wednesday.

A Defense Department laboratory in Utah had “inadvertently” transferred the live Anthrax sample to a commercial lab and government health authorities were still testing other samples that had been shipped to laboratories in nine other states, the official told reporters.

There were no known cases of lab workers being exposed to the live sample, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The live Anthrax sample was discovered by the commercial lab late on May 22 and the other laboratories were then informed, the official said.

At least nine other government and commercial labs had received Anthrax samples and authorities were trying to determine if there were other live spores transported.

The Defense Department lab at Dugway Proving Grounds routinely transfers “dead” Anthrax samples, which are inactivated through radiation, for scientific research, officials said.

The Pentagon was collaborating with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was investigating the incident, he said.

The lethal anthrax disease is spread by spores and has been used for bioweapons programs in the United States and elsewhere.

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