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US Military Laboratory in South Korea-sends out Live Anthrax Samples

US Military Laboratory in South Korea-sends out Live Anthrax Samples

Preventive vaccination given to 22 military personnel directly exposed in South Korea


US Military Laboratory in South Korea, is reportedly mistaken to send out live anthrax samples to the US Airbase in South Korea. While the fear of an infection has been dismissed, however, 22 military personnel at the US base station, have been given antibiotics and necessary vaccination; suspected to have an exposure to the deadly bacteria. The consignment was scheduled to be delivered in 9 states in the US, and an American Airbase in South Korea.


A private lab in Maryland is reported to have received the live anthrax spores on May 22, according to a a Defense official statement quoted in the international media. Anthrax samples, a deadly biological agent, are supposed to be killed before any kind of transportation or distribution assignment for research. The investigations are underway, and the defense officials are tight lipped about the details of the serious fiasco by the US lab authorities.


The Pentagon is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “in an investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live anthrax,” Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, said.


“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,” Warren said.


The Dugway Proving Ground in Utah is believed to have distributed the received consignment (samples) by truck to eight companies in nine states in the US. They were further sent to labs, both military and commercial, in Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California and Virginia. A sample is also reported to have been transported to Osan Air Base in South Korea, where it was subsequently destroyed on receiving the critical information. Twenty-two personnel who may have been exposed in Osan were examined and given antibiotics and in some cases vaccinations, the 51st Fighter Wing said in an e-mailed statement. None of them have shown any signs of exposure, according to the statement in the international media.


Anthrax outbreak was reported in India, in a remote village of Jharkhand in October, 2014. The deadly bacteria, most commonly found in livestock and wild animals infects humans primarily through occupational hazards or by consuming undercooked meat of infected animals, and most recently, intentional release of spores. Some of the more common herbivores, found in abundance in India, are cattle, sheep, goats, horses, camels and deers. Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock, which not only leads to quick death of the affected animals; but also perplexes the situation when affected animals are often found dead with no illness.


A major anthrax scare was triggered in the US scientist blunder; after almost 90 people were possibly exposed to the deadly bacteria when bio-terrorism researchers failed to follow safety procedures.

On 13 June, 2014 scientists at the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) realized they had sent live anthrax to researchers at lower-security labs rather than harmless samples of the pathogen, as reported in an international newspaper.

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