Skip to main content

Pentagon may have accidentally mailed live anthrax to 17 states

Pentagon may have accidentally mailed live anthrax to 17 states


Numbers may continue to rise

Share this story

The number of labs that the Pentagon unknowingly mailed samples of live anthrax continues to rise. According to Reuters, the Department of Defense said today that it suspects 51 government and private labs may have received live samples of the potentially lethal bacteria — up from 28 yesterday — and that the number of labs is only expected to rise. Those labs include locations in 17 US states and three foreign countries, including South Korea, Australia, and Canada. The Pentagon reportedly says that there's no danger to the public and that no one has become infected.

The anthrax samples, sent from a US Army base, were believed to be inactive. As the Pentagon has been discovering over the past two weeks, that's not the case. Additional Anthrax samples that were believed to be inert are now being tested, according to CNN, but it takes around 10 days to receive results. "That is why the numbers may rise," says Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense. The samples aren't believed to have been intentionally sent live, and the Pentagon is now reviewing practices used for rendering the bacteria inert.