Defense Department issues statement on recent anthrax shipment

Following the recent shipment of what was thought to be inactive anthrax to several federal labs, the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD) Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) said that it sometimes ships inactivated - more commonly known as "killed" - biological substances.

These materials are used by industry, academia and other federal labs in developing countermeasures to chemical and biological threats. 

The shipment of what was thought to be killed, or inactivated, anthrax was recently sent by a DoD lab to federal labs in several states and foreign countries. The samples were found to contain a small amount of live anthrax.

"There are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers and there is no known risk to the general public," the DoD said. "DoD is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on their investigation of this incident."

All samples of anthrax have been recalled from DoD labs while the CDC investigation continues.

"DoD is advising labs that received inactivated anthrax from DoD to stop using the samples until they receive guidance from CDC and DoD," the agency said. "DoD has notified all labs with known shipments, and has requested the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) to notify its membership and to post the DoD statement on the website in order to reach others who may have received samples of inactivated Bacillus anthracis supplied by DoD from others within their institutions or third parties."

The DoD will continue to release updates throughout the investigation. Questions can be directed to Franca Jones at osd.pentagon.ousd-atl.mbx.dod-bio-security@mail.mil.

The DoD statement can be found online at http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17305.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Department of Defense 2 N Rotary Rd Arlington, VA 22202

American Society for Microbiology 1752 N St NW Washington, DC 20036

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