-- The Pentagon has ordered a comprehensive review of its laboratory facilities that handle anthrax after finding more labs in the United States that may have mistakenly received live anthrax, U.S. officials said.
Any laboratories that may have received inactive anthrax samples from the Pentagon in the past have also been advised to stop working with those samples until they get more instruction from the Defense Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples," the Pentagon said in statement this evening.
Officials are trying to determine what institutions in Australia received the possibly live anthrax and its whereabouts.
In light of the new information Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work ordered “a comprehensive review of DoD laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating spore-forming anthrax."
He also ordered all military laboratories that have anthrax materials “to test all previously inactivated spore-forming anthrax in the inventory.”
All laboratories that may have received inactive anthrax from the Pentagon in the past have been advised to stop working with those samples until they receive further instruction from the Defense Department and the Centers for Disease Control.”
The laboratories have located their samples and sent them to the CDC for testing to determine if they too received live anthrax.
No workers who came into contact with the samples have exhibited any symptoms of anthrax infection, according to the Pentagon and the CDC.
However, as a protective measure, three lab workers in the United States and 22 military lab workers in South Korea are receiving antibiotic treatments, officials said.