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CDC is investigating Pentagon's accidental shipment of live anthrax

The U.S. military was supposed to send inactive samples of anthrax to nine laboratories in South Korea but mistakenly sent live samples
U.S. military admits to shipping live anthrax 01:34

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is investigating the inadvertent transfer by the Defense Department (DOD) of live samples of Anthrax to labs in nine states.

CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reported earlier Wednesday that a U.S. Army facility, Dugway Proving Ground, near Salt Lake City, Utah, had accidentally shipped the batch of live anthrax. The facility had irradiated a batch of anthrax and declared it dead and then divided the anthrax into nine batches and shipped it to commercial and government labs in nine states.

The CDC's investigation began after a private commercial lab requested a technical consultation. The lab had been working with the Defense Department to develop a new diagnostic test to identify biological threats. Although an inactivated agent was expected, the lab, which is in Maryland, found that it was able to grow live Bacillus anthraces, and it notified the Defense Department and the CDC on Friday.

At this time, the CDC says, it has no reason to suspect that there is any risk to the general public, and it is investigating every lab that received the DOD samples. The CDC intends to determine whether labs also received other live samples, and will conduct epidemiological consultations and other appropriate measures.

All samples involved are going to be securely transferred to CDC or Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratories for further testing. CDC has sent officials to the DOD labs to conduct onsite investigations.

One sample of anthrax was also sent to Osan Air Base in Korea, according to the Pentagon. Col. Steven H. Warren, Defense press operations director said in a statement that this sample, too, posed "no known risk to the general public, and no personnel have shown any signs of possible exposure." And, the statement continued, "The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols."

According to a military statement Thursday, as many as 22 personnel may have been exposed to anthrax during a training exercise at the U.S. military base in South Korea. The training involved "routine laboratory protocols that are in line with normal handling procedures," the statement said. Those that could have come into contact with anthrax were "provided with appropriate medical precautionary measures," including examinations, antibiotics, and vaccinations.

The states that received the anthrax samples from the Defense Department are Texas, Delaware, Maryland, California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, and Virginia.

CBS News' Duncan McKenna contributed to this report.

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