-- Anthrax samples sent to a laboratory belonging to the Pentagon's police force have been found not to contain live anthrax, a Defense Department official told ABC News. The laboratory itself was not located at the Pentagon.
Earlier Tuesday, a Defense Department official said that the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), which provides security for the iconic building, may have also received some live anthrax used to calibrate detection equipment.
PFPA manages a laboratory, which conducts biological surveillance of the Pentagon environment. The laboratory is not located at the Pentagon, the Defense Department official told ABC News.
Before arriving at the PFPA laboratory, the samples had been diluted at a contract laboratory in Maryland. The Defense Department official said no viable organisms have been found in the diluted quality assurance samples at the contract lab.
“We have informed the Canadians,” said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, noting the testing to determine if there is live anthrax in the batch sent to Canada will take several days. He did not have information about when this shipment was sent to Canada.
So far, it is believed that laboratories in as many as 12 states may have received samples containing live anthrax. Last Friday, a Pentagon statement said 24 laboratories in 11 states were believed to have received the shipments that could contain live spores.
"The Defense Department does not know the scale and scope of this problem,” Warren said.
The Pentagon launched a comprehensive review on Friday of the procedures, techniques and handling of anthrax at its laboratories.
Warren stressed that a review of handling and shipment procedures has determined that there is no threat to the general public from the mistaken shipments.
So far, that testing has confirmed live anthrax only at the laboratory in Maryland that initially detected live spores in a sample of supposedly inactivated anthrax.
Warren stressed that so far the DoD has determined that there has been no risk to the general public.