Anthrax was sent by the Pentagon to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and nine countries. The shipment of live anthrax was deemed a “defense security breach” that started over 12 years ago. The situation was more severe than initially thought, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Pentagon anthrax breach investigation revealed that shipments of the live and deadly cultures had doubled since the problem was detected earlier this year. A total of 194 cases of anthrax were shipped around the country, according to an MSN report.
The Army’s Dugway Proving Ground reportedly sent live anthrax samples from its Utah facility to 106 secondary labs and 88 primary labs. According to the Defense Department, no personnel involved in the handling or shipment of anthrax were “subjected to the disease.” Staffers who may have come into contact with the vials are reportedly being monitored and have been given post-exposure prophylaxis.
Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon representative, said that a remote agency security office and the Osan Air Base in South Korea were among the facilities where the live spores were sent during the early stages of the investigation.
“No other overseas military facilities received anthrax samples,” Colonel Warren added.
Pentagon officials anticipate that the live anthrax shipments statistics could grow “significantly” as sample tests are completed. Department of Defense officials said they are currently unsure if all the foreign countries where anthrax was sent have yet to compile a complete report of the shipments they received.
The nine foreign labs where the Pentagon anthrax was shipped include the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Norway. Similar shipments of live anthrax samples were also sent to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
Here is an excerpt from a notice about the response to the anthrax security breach posted on the Department of Defense website.
“In support of the coordination and rapid response to the DoD’s comprehensive review of this matter, a 24-hour a day, seven days a week hotline has been established. Public inquiries and questions regarding the DoD’s review of laboratory procedures can be directed to the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Information Resource Center.”
The Pentagon has positioned 31 staffers with experience in preventative treatments around the country and in South Korea. A total of 22 such staffers were sent to the air base in Korea, and nine were stationed in the United States.
The Department of Defense sent what they thought were inactivated samples of anthrax spores to labs in America and other countries for research and development purposes. A statement from the Defense Department said the program is designed as part of countermeasure necessary to protect United States soldiers, our allies, partners, and the citizens of the United States from “biological attack.”
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