Shipment of anthrax sent to Australia from US military lab in 2008
It was believed the virus had been destroyed in the lab before being sent
Mistake uncovered as part of bigger investigation into military lab in Utah
US officials believe their have been no infections or public threat created
Published: 23:14 EDT, 29 May 2015 | Updated: 11:59 EDT, 30 May 2015
A potentially fatal batch of the deadly anthrax virus was sent to Australia in 2008, as part of a US military bungle.
The shipment misstep was revealed as part of a wider look into a military lab in Utah, where samples were supposed to be made inactive by radiation.
Health and military officials started a joint investigation last week after a commercial lab in Maryland, US, found a live sample of anthrax in a delivery from an US site near Salt Lake City, Utah, according to the AFP.
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A security fence with a deadly force warning sign surrounds the main part of the Dugway Proving Ground on April 5, 2014
The mistake was acknowledged by the US government on Thursday, when a Pentagon statement said at least 18 government, university and commercial labratories received live anthrax sample from a batch irradiated and believed to be destroyed in 2014.
Officials announced on Friday the investigation turned up another batch of live anthrax, which was meant to be made inactive or "dead" in 2008.
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According to officials, it was not clear when the samples from the 2008 batch were sent or where they went, other than Australia.
"We are still trying to figure out where the samples were sent," a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AFP.
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
"We are still trying to figure out where the samples were sent," a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AFP
There is no public threat posed and no cases of infection, US military and health authorities 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.
US government laboratories came under fire last year over reports of sloppy management of deadly bacteria.
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 scrapped its bioweapons effort as part of an international treaty, which the United States ratified in 1975.
In 2001, powdered anthrax spores were found in letters mailed in the United States, causing 22 people infected and 5 dead
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.
The Australian Minister for Health was contacted for comment.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3103400/US-accidentally-sent-live-ANTHRAX-Australia-military-lab-using-lethal-bacteria-combat-biological-weapons-insists-no-health-threat.html