Stanford reports no issues related to anthrax shipment

Stanford University announced Thursday that there has been no public health risk from the receipt of a vial that may have contained a minute number of live anthrax spores.

School officials have since sent the suspected vial to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for complete analysis. The vial was shipped in July of 2014, and university representatives state it was not used during its 10-month stay.

The CDC notified several labs across the country that trace anthrax spores may have been present in a shipment from the Department of Defense. They stated that the shipments were highly unlikely to pose health risks.

The sample is a part of research into immunological response to biological threats that could lead to vaccines and other treatments.  Only two individuals interacted with the sample with appropriate biological safety guidelines in place.

Bacillus anthracis is considered to be a Category A biological agent, indicating agents are easily spread and have a high mortality rate or could cause high levels of panic in the population. The CDC states that a biological attack could likely utilize anthrax spores due to their being available naturally and the speed with which they can be released.

Anthrax found in letters in 2001 infected 22 people, including letter carriers, with the illness.

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