The Pentagon said Wednesday it accidentally shipped samples of live anthrax to labs in nine states – and is now working with the CDC to contain it.
“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 [Department of Defense] lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
Warren maintained 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.”
“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,” Warren said, according to ABC News.
The samples were shipped last week via a commercial shipper to labs in these states: California, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.
The Maryland lab was the first to determine it was anthrax, ABC News reported.
According to the CDC’s website, anthrax is “a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis.” If someone comes in contact with anthrax, “it’s important to get medical care as quickly as possible to have the best chances of a full recovery.”