Remember Anthrax?

Pentagon accidentally sent live anthrax to as many as nine states, officials say

by Spencer Ackerman

Wednesday 27 May 2015 16.20 EDT

The Pentagon has conceded it accidentally shipped samples of a live bioweapon across nine states and to a US air base in South Korea.

In an extraordinary Wednesday admission, the Pentagon revealed what it called an “inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis,” or anthrax, took place at an unspecified time from a US defense department laboratory in Dugway, Utah.

Nine unspecified states received samples of the bioweapon, which can be fatal if untreated. One sample was also sent to Osan air base in Pyeongtaek, about 65km south of Seoul.

The Pentagon is aiding with a Centers for Disease Control investigation, Warren said, and “out of an abundance of caution” stopped additional anthrax shipments from its stockpiles. Such shipments are supposed to involve only inactive or dead bioweapons samples.

Pentagon officials would not say more about when the shipment occurred, who was the official responsible nor how inadvertent it was, given that the shipment appeared from Warren’s account to be part of a bioweapon detection initiative.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that a facility in Georgia exposed staff to anthrax after conducting an experiment into the prospect for mass spectrometry providing “a faster way to detect anthrax compared to conventional methods.”

While it is unclear if the two incidents are related, the CDC placed a moratorium on facilities’ transfers of anthrax while it improved safety procedures.


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