Months ago, the Pentagon disclosed that it had accidentally sent live anthrax to labs in a number of U.S. states. This week the Department of Defense confirmed that the number is much higher than initially thought, and that the labs affected are in every single U.S. State and the District of Columbia. And nine other countries. Stars and Stripes reports:
According to the latest data released online by the Defense Department, the number of labs receiving shipments from the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has more than doubled to 194 from the original number confirmed by the Pentagon.
The DoD announced a comprehensive review of its labs back in May, when it said 24 labs in 11 states likely received active anthrax samples. South Korea was also confirmed to have received live samples, which made North Korea very angry. Since then, the Pentagon has been updating its figures online, but representatives did not confirm the latest numbers until this week.
The Dugway Proving Ground Life Sciences Test Facility holds several biodefense laboratories, and recent testing has shown them to be subpar. According to Reuters, a recent examination of nine labs on the facility found traces of the deadly powder in areas outside designated containment zones. The sloppiness prompted the Pentagon to halt operations at the nine labs. Defense officials told USA Today that the labs will be reopened once they are deemed safe.
Authorities say nobody has been harmed by the substance, and that the general public is not at risk.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.