Live Sample of Anthrax Found in a Shipment from A Army Facility in Salt Lake City

by Bidita Debnath on May 31, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Live Sample of Anthrax Found in a Shipment from A Army Facility in Salt Lake City
US authorities investigating the mistaken shipment of Live Anthrax by a military lab have discovered another batch of the lethal bacteria dating back to 2008, some of which was sent to Australia, officials have revealed.

The revelation suggested a wider problem in the handling of anthrax samples, which were supposed to be rendered inactive by irradiation at a US Army facility in Utah.

Military and health officials launched a probe after a commercial lab in Maryland last week found a live sample of anthrax in a shipment from the army's Dugway Proving Ground, near Salt Lake City.

The Pentagon acknowledged on Thursday that at least 18 government, university and commercial laboratories received suspected live samples of anthrax from a batch irradiated in March 2014.

Samples from that batch were distributed to various labs for research in nine states as well as at the US military's Osan air base in South Korea. But on Friday, officials said the investigation turned up another batch of live anthrax, which was meant to be made inactive or "dead" in 2008.

It was not clear precisely when samples from the 2008 batch were sent out or where the samples were sent, other than Australia, officials said. "We are still trying to figure out where the samples were sent," a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed the investigation by the US into the shipment. "We are taking part in the investigation and I am pleased it is underway," she said.

US military and health authorities insisted there was no threat posed to public health and no suspected cases of infection.

Four lab workers in the states of Texas, Delaware and Wisconsin had been put on antibiotics as a precaution, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

In addition, 22 military and civilian personnel were also placed under preventative treatment at Osan air base in South Korea, the Pentagon said.

The anthrax bacteria sent out by the army facility in Utah was part of a Pentagon effort "to develop a new diagnostic test to identify biological threats," the CDC said.

- 'Breach of trust' -

Lawmakers voiced alarm over the mishap involving the 2014 batch of anthrax, and demanded army officials explain what went wrong.

"While the Army says it is confident no one has been harmed, it needs to tell us what is being done immediately to prevent this from happening again," Senator Bill Nelson said in a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh.

Nelson called the incident a "serious breach of trust" in the army's obligation to keep Americans and troops safe.

US government laboratories came under fire last year over reports of sloppy management of deadly bacteria.

As a result, health officials suspended the shipment of potentially dangerous pathogens from government labs in Atlanta and the CDC shut down two of its laboratories, including one implicated in the mishandling of anthrax samples.

The lethal anthrax disease is spread by spores and has been used for bioweapons programs in the United States and elsewhere. Washington long ago scrapped its bioweapons effort as part of an international treaty, which the United States ratified in 1975.

Microscopic anthrax spores can be released without being detected and can be placed in powders or food. In 2001, powdered anthrax spores were found in letters mailed in the United States. Out of 22 people who were infected, five died.

Anthrax spores are deadly unless a patient is promptly treated with large doses of antibiotics.

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Stroop Effect
Plant-Based Diet may Reduce the Risk of COVID-19
Lower Respiratory Tract Infections Linked to Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Anthrax Bioterrorism Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Salt in Our Food Salt Scrub Tame your Salt Intake Smartly Low Salt Diet for Good Health 

Recommended Reading
18 Laboratories in America may Have Received Live Anthrax Samples: US Officials
Anthrax was shipped to the labs from Dugway Proving Grounds, a Defense Department lab in Utah, ......
US Health Chief Faces Congress Over a Dangerous Mixup of Flu and Anthrax
The chief of the US government's top public health agency is to testify in Congress over a series .....
Researchers Find Bits of Anthrax and Bubonic Plague on New York's Subway
Researchers from Cornell University have provided the first map of New York's subway microbes, ......
Two Killed and 16 Hospitalized Due to Suspected Anthrax Poisoning in Jharkhand, India
The Indian state chapter of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) has attributed the .....
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Find out more about the degenerative disease- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis....
Anthrax is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and spreads when the anthrax spores are inhale...
Low Salt Diet for Good Health
Salt is substance existing in water as well as in foods. The article discusses the major risks invol...
Tame your Salt Intake Smartly
Salt is essential for the proper functioning of body but most of us generally exceed the intake of s...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use