The U.S. Army Thursday ordered a safety review at nine Department of Defense laboratories after live anthrax was found outside a containment area at a Utah facility -- the same lab from which live anthrax samples were shipped across the world earlier this year.
The anthrax contamination found at the Dugway Proving Ground Life Sciences Test Facility was in "secure areas located outside the primary containment area," the defense department said, in a statement.
The lab carried out a full decontamination of the biosafety area and did not detect anthrax contamination following a retest. No evidence of live anthrax exposure to employees was found and the public was not at risk, the statement read.
The nine labs reviewed are in Maryland, Massachusetts, Utah and Virginia. The laboratories deal with shipment and handling of lethal biological toxins. Army Secretary John McHugh ordered, in a memo, a report on the reviews in the next 10 days.
The Army had already suspended operations in July at four defense department laboratories -- one in Utah and three in Maryland. It expanded the suspension of production, handling, testing, and shipment of anthrax to include critical reagents and other agents and toxins, the defense department’s statement added.
The Pentagon revealed Tuesday that the army’s Utah facility sent live anthrax samples to 50 states and nine countries earlier this year. The shipments went out to 88 primary labs and 106 secondary labs. No personnel were subjected to sickness.
Defense officials at the time said they were not sure whether the countries to which the anthrax was sent represented the full reach of the deliveries and whether those countries knew about the deliveries.