WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Live anthrax samples were shipped to three laboratories in Canada by a U.S. military lab, USA Today reported on Monday, following disclosures last week that samples of the bacteria were mistakenly sent to 11 U.S. states and two other countries.
The newspaper cited two Defense Department officials as saying the samples sent to Canada came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the other samples appear to trace back to as well. It is one of the U.S. military labs responsible for inactivation and shipping of biological material.
A Defense Department official said on Monday the Pentagon had nothing to announce about the anthrax shipments and that the investigation is continuing.
The U.S. military said on Friday a total of 11 states had received “suspect samples,” as did Australia and a U.S. air base in South Korea. It ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the potentially deadly bacteria.
It advised all laboratories for now to stop working with any “inactive” samples sent from the Defense Department.
To date, the United States has acknowledged that four U.S. civilians have begun taking preventive measures that usually include the anthrax vaccine, antibiotics or both.
Twenty-two people at the base in South Korea were also given precautionary medical measures, although none had shown signs of exposure.
Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Eric Walsh