Monday, June 08, 2015

ANTHRAX - Mistaken Shipments Update

"Number of labs mistakenly shipped live anthrax by the military grows" PBS NewsHour 6/3/2015


SUMMARY:  Live anthrax was shipped to 51 labs across the country and to three foreign nations.  That's a larger number than previously disclosed by the Pentagon, and there could be more.  Judy Woodruff talks to Nancy Youssef of The Daily Beast.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The Pentagon today gave new information about that scare over live anthrax samples.  Officials said 51 labs in 17 states, plus Washington, D.C., and three foreign countries received the suspected live spores.  That’s a larger number than what was previously disclosed.

At a news conference today, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work sought to reassure the public.

ROBERT WORK, Deputy Secretary of Defense:  We continue to work with the CDC to ensure that all possible safeguards are taken to prevent exposure at the labs in question and that any worker that might have had risk of exposure, even to these low-concentrated samples, they are closely monitored.

We know of no risk to the general public from these samples.  To provide context, the concentration of these samples are too low to infect the average healthy individual. Everyone in the Department of Defense takes this issue very seriously, because it is a matter of public health and also the health of all of the members of our department.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Joining me now to tell us more about what happened and the response is Nancy Youssef.  She’s the senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast.

Nancy, welcome back to the program.

So, many more samples of anthrax were sent out to these labs than was known before.  Why is this coming out in bits and pieces like this?

NANCY YOUSSEF, The Daily Beast:  Well, part of it is that it takes several days to determine which samples were sent out that were positive and which were negative.

This is out of 400 lots, and from each lot comes several scores of samples that are sent to various labs, and so they’re going through lot by lot and doing testing.  The number that we’re giving is only out of four lots, 1 percent.  And in 100 percent of the cases that have tested so far, it has come back positive for anthrax.

And so it portends of a lot more laboratories and states coming up as recipients of live anthrax.

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