A live anthrax sample had been accidentally sent from a Defense Department laboratory in the United States to an American military base in South Korea, but it has been safely destroyed, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
The sample, which was sent to Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, was in addition to a group of anthrax samples that the Department of Defense lab in Dugway, Utah, shipped to labs in nine states, according to Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
“One sample of anthrax was also sent to the Joint United States Forces Korea (USFK) Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base,” he said. “There is no known risk to the general public, and no personnel have shown any signs of possible exposure. The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols.”
Warren said the Pentagon is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation into the “inadvertent transfer of samples.”
“There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers,” he said.
The lab was working as part of a Pentagon effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment, Warren said, adding that the department “has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation.”