United States military accidentally shipped live Anthrax to several labs in the United States and overseas.
The US Military has shipped accidentally live Anthrax. The Defense Department was quick to say that the public was never at risk, but according to CNN up to 22 Defense Department workers have been put in post-exposure treatment. The workers handled the live anthrax probes.
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A statement released by the Defense Department said: "All personnel were provided appropriate medical precautionary measures to include examinations, antibiotics and in some instances, vaccinations. None of the personnel have shown any signs of possible exposure."
The live Anthrax was shipped from a lab at the Dugway, Utah base. The live Anthrax was shipped with lower security as the shipments have been marked as dead anthrax samples. Anthrax is sent to labs for research regularly, but only in a dead state.
An investigation of the Centers for Disease Control is underway at the military lab to find out how live anthrax could have been shipped.
"These events shouldn't happen," said Stephen Morse of Columbia University, a former program manager for biodefense at the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency according to Reuters.
For dangerous stuff like anthrax a two-person rule is in place and a scientist is never handling samples alone. Mr. Morse says that "two people should also vet shipments of supposedly killed anthrax."
What is Anthrax?
According to Wikipedia, Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects mostly animals. It is not contagious but can be transmitted through contact or consumption of infected meat. Effective vaccines against anthrax are available, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.