WASHINGTON – Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said 51 labs in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia and three countries, may have received suspect shipments of anthrax from a Utah facility, at a Pentagon press conference Wednesday.
Work said he expects the numbers to go up as the Defense Department still has several original lots to test.
The Pentagon believes there is no hazard to the general public but cannot say how many lab workers may have come into contact with the suspect shipments.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency, the Pentagon’s police force, is one of the agencies that received questionable U.S. Army shipments of anthrax. That shipment now must be tested to see if its live rather than dead pathogen.
The Pentagon police received a shipment of what was supposed to be dead anthrax agent from one of three original lots, all of which are now shown to contain live, rather than dead anthrax.
Days after the first disclosures were made that three batches of anthrax at Dugway Proving Ground had been shown to inadvertently contain live anthrax, the Pentagon still has yet to fully determine and announce to the public the full scope of the problem.
Officials say they do not known the full scope and are not going to announce details until they are fully certain.
While only one lab in Maryland has reported actually receiving live anthrax, the Pentagon and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to determine if live anthrax shipments were made to facilities in as many as 12 states, as well as Canada, South Korea and Australia. More than 30 shipments already shipped to these locations must be tested.
CNN has been exclusively shown a document detailing the location of the anthrax shipments that came from three lots at Dugway dating back to 2007.
At Dugway, in recent days, those three lots tested positive, but there may be as many as 100 lots there still to be tested, according to one defense official.