The U.S. military recently shipped live anthrax spores to eighteen labs in nine states and South Korea, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Pentagon. This is not an immediate health threat. But it is a huge embarrassment that illustrates grave flaws in the U.S.’s bioterrorism preparedness safety system.
Anthrax specimens were inadvertently shipped from the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, in Utah, to California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, and to South Korea.
“At least 18 labs in nine states received sample kits containing 23 marked specimens and 2 controls,” said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald. “One of the controls was labeled ‘antigen 1.’ It was, in fact, live anthrax spores. Notably, samples were reportedly sent by a commercial carrier to private and commercial labs involved in field-testing a diagnostic test, and were to be relayed to others. A private lab in Maryland expected an inactivated agent, but found they were able to grow live anthrax bacteria, prompting the initial report to the CDC. Here is what we can learn.
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