U.S. lab’s suspect anthrax may have been taken into Pentagon: CNN

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department is investigating to determine if live anthrax was brought into the Pentagon after an Army laboratory in Utah mistakenly shipped out live batches of the potentially lethal bacteria, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The Dugway Proving Ground had intended to send shipments of inert anthrax spores but may have inadvertently sent live batches to labs in 12 U.S. states, as well as three foreign countries, as far back as 2006.

One of the shipments was for police at the Pentagon, where it was to have been used to calibrate security sensors that screen for chemical and biological weapons, two defense officials told CNN.

The U.S. military said last week it had discovered even more suspected shipments of live anthrax than previously thought, in the United States, South Korea, Australia and Canada, and ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the bacteria.

The Canadian government said on Tuesday it had received a shipment from the United States that might have contained live bacterium but that there were no reported illnesses. The Public Health Agency of Canada said it received the sample in August 2006 but that it had not been used for more than five years and was moved to a secure laboratory.

The Pentagon is working to limit potential health problems from the anthrax and has advised all laboratories for now to stop working with any “inactive” samples sent from the Defense Department.

(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Peter Cooney)