May 28, 2015
In a potentially devastating blunder, Wednesday the Pentagon announced that ‘live Anthrax’ was shipped from a Utah lab to approximately nine different states over the last year.
It was a lab based in Maryland that sounded the alert that live samples had been received. The U.S. Military unintentionally FedExed the live Anthrax samples to four U.S. lab workers and as many as 22 overseas labs. All have been placed in post exposure treatment and been prescribed prophylaxis as a precaution.
A South Korean base was also indicated to have inadvertently received a live sample, one that was to have been used in an “Anthrax detection exercise,” according to Fox News.
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson, was confident that “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.”
Because the Anthrax samples were thought to be dead they did not have to be shipped under tight protocols. A defense official stated, “These were supposed to be dead spores Anthrax, called AG-1.”
But there are conflicting stories as to when and where the samples where shipped though a FedEx spokesperson, Jim McCluskey, would not confirm the report saying “FedEx is committed to the safe transport of all customer shipments, and our priority is the safety of our employees. We will be working closely with the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control to gather information about these shipments.”
When the defense official was asked how many of the states receiving the Anthrax actually received Live Anthrax, the official stated, “out of an abundance of caution, it is safe to assume it’s all live.”
“Five active duty Air Force members, 10 active duty Army members, three civilian officials and four contractors are now getting preventative treatment in South Korea,” according to CNN.
There is an ongoing investigation and all samples are being collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.