Live anthrax mistakenly shipped from Utah Army facility; DOD, CDC investigating

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DUGWAY – A Utah Army facility in Dugway has reportedly shipped live anthrax samples by mistake to labs in nine states within the last several days. The Department of Defense is now working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the incident.

“The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,” Col. Steven H. Warren, director of Defense Press Operations, said in a statement Wednesday.

Following the mistaken shipments, CNN reported Wednesday, four Defense Department workers have been put in post-exposure treatment after handling the live anthrax samples. However, there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection among the potentially exposed lab workers, Warren said.

CNN additionally reported that a Maryland-based lab was the first to discover its shipment contained live anthrax instead of the expected dead anthrax samples that were supposed to be shipped. More stringent standards are used in shipping dead anthrax than live samples.

In addition to live samples sent out in error to labs in the United States, one sample was also sent to the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base in South Korea, CNN reported.

“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 said in the statement.

“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.”

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2 Comments

  • sagemoon May 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I would hate to be the person who screwed up my job by sending that stuff out.

    • RealMcCoy May 28, 2015 at 11:52 am

      I would hate to be the person that has to list “reason for last termination” on his resume for his next job…

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