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Military Personnel Accidentally Ship Live Anthrax

Published by: Dave Simmons on 27th May 2015 | View all blogs by Dave Simmons

Military Personnel Accidentally Ship Live Anthrax

An anonymous US defense official reported Wednesday that military personnel had accidentally sent a live anthrax specimen to a private lab in the northeast. The official said that 8 other samples may have been sent out, but said he believes all the samples are now secure. The samples were believed to be inactive, rather than live samples when they were shipped to private facilities for research purposes. A spokesman for the Pentagon confirmed that there was an investigation into the incident, and insisted that there is no public health risk. The Centers for Disease Control also acknowledged the mishap, and is investigating, but echoed the Pentagon stance that there is no risk to the public.

The Defense Dept. shipment of live anthrax marks the 2nd time in less than a year that government officials had sent live anthrax to private labs by mistake. Last June, a CDC shipment of anthrax exposed 80 people in a private lab. Like the military incident, CDC workers believed they had deactivated the anthrax before shipment. The CDC incident led to an extensive overhaul of lab protocols at the CDC, and the latest incident will likely spark a similar move at military installations such as the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the anonymous source said the anthrax shipped from.

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