US orders major review as suspect anthrax samples found in multiple labs
- The U.S. military is ordering a major review in the wake of biolab debacle involving anthrax and other dangerous substances. The Pentagon has advised all labs that work with anthrax to stop working with any "inactive" samples sent from the Department of Defense (DOD).
- According to the Pentagon, labs in 11 states, as well as labs in Australia and South Korea received suspect samples of anthrax. 'Suspect' means that the anthrax is not deactivated.
- The U.S. government has acknowledged that four U.S. citizens are currently taking precautions aginst the potential effects of exposure to live anthrax. The measures being taken include taking anthrax vaccines, antibiotics or both.
Last week, BioPharma Dive highlighted an investigative report from USA Today on the dangers surrounding the 200-plus biodefense labs scattered across the country. The upshot of the report is that there is danger lurking all around from various pathogens, including the MERS virus, H1N1 and a myriad of other threats, including anthrax.
The current anthrax scare is very real and as government officials uncover more information, it is clear that it is becoming a potential public health problem. The problem is that there were numous live anthrax samples uncovered at Dugway, a U.S. military base in Utah, which were susposed to be deactivated. These samples have been shipped wide and far, and now represent a potential threat to numerous CDC workers, researchers and everyday civilians.
Anthrax is not a new contaminant. In fact, until a vaccine was created by Louis Pasteur in the 1900's, it killed hundreds, if not thousands of people, each year. Because it is transmitted via spores, anthrax represents a insidious threat in which people end up deveoloping anthrax-related respiratoary, cutaneous and gastrointestinal symptoms. The effect of untreated anthrax exposure is often death.