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Reports: Utah Army lab that sent live anthrax samples was previously cited

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Posted at 2:54 PM, Jun 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-12 16:57:01-04

DUGWAY, Utah – The Army bioterror defense research facility in Dugway, Utah, that mistakenly sent live anthrax to numerous labs across the country and abroad was previously cited for failing to kill anthrax samples, according to the USA Today.

According to the USA Today, the Utah facility faced potential sanctions in 2007 for failing to properly kill specimens of the deadly bacteria and ignoring test results that indicated their kill process wasn’t effective.

The report states the violations found eight years ago were so serious federal regulators referred the facility for further investigation and possible enforcement action.

Lab regulators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the USA Today it is important to note that the 2007 violations involved a different, chemical method of inactivating anthrax and not the gamma irradiation method that is the focus of the current federal investigation.

According to the Department of Defense, at least 69 labs in the US and five in foreign countries have received live anthrax samples.

The CDC cited Dugway in 2007 for using an “experimental” chemical method of killing anthrax specimens that was ineffective and resulted in an unauthorized transfer of anthrax bacteria to another facility,” according to the USA Today.

The USA Today report states the CDC inspectors found that Dugway staff apparently ignored the results of their own kill-confirmation tests that showed growth of bacteria even after the chemical inactivation was done and shipped the sample anyway.

MORE: See the full story from the USA Today here