DoD accidentally ships live anthrax to South Korea, 9 US labs

The Department of Defense has revealed that it accidentally shipped live anthrax to nine labs located in the United States, as well as to a joint military based located in South Korea. No known infections among lab personnel have been reported, and the Pentagon says there is no known risk to the general population. The Centers for Disease Control is working with the Department of Defense to investigate the issue, which is said to have resulted from live samples of anthrax being shipped inadvertently from a government lab located in Dugway, Utah to the aforementioned locations.

The announcement was made by Army Col. Steve Warren, who said in a 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."

The South Korea destination is reported as the Joint United States Forces Korea (USFK) Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base. The nine United States labs, meanwhile, are located in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, California, and Wisconsin.

The mistake came to light after the lab located in Maryland alerted the Pentagon on May 22 that it had received a live anthrax sample. The CDC was notified the next day. It is believed that the number of affected labs could increase in coming days, but so far only the live sample shipped to Maryland has been confirmed.

SOURCE: The Hill