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Pentagon Reports Higher Number of Anthrax Shipments

  • VOA News

Spores from the Sterne strain of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) are pictured in this handout scanning electron micrograph, May 28, 2015.

Spores from the Sterne strain of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) are pictured in this handout scanning electron micrograph, May 28, 2015.

The Pentagon said Friday that there were more accidental deliveries of live anthrax spores to U.S. and overseas laboratories than originally thought and that it had ordered an in-depth review.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said live anthrax was shipped to 24 laboratories in 11 U.S. states, South Korea and Australia.

The Pentagon had reported Thursday that a U.S. military laboratory in Utah accidentally sent live anthrax spores to civilian commercial labs in nine U.S. states and a military lab in South Korea.

In his statement Friday, Warren said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work had ordered a "comprehensive review" of the Pentagon's laboratory procedures, processes and "protocols associated with inactivating spore-forming anthrax."

Warren also said there was "no known risk to the general public and an extremely low risk to lab workers" from the inadvertent shipments, and that the Department of Defense was working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in investigating the shipments.

Contact with live anthrax can lead to a severe, flu-like illness that can be fatal if not treated early.

The Pentagon said Thursday that it had stopped shipping anthrax spores while the incident was being investigated.

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