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    FILE - In this May 11, 2003, file photo, Microbiologist Ruth Bryan works with BG nerve agent simulant in Class III Glove Box in the Life Sciences Test Facility at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The specialized airtight enclosure is also used for hands-on work with anthrax and other deadly agents

    Pentagon Orders Safety Review of 9 Labs Involved in Handling Live Agents

    © AP Photo / Douglas C. Pizac
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    The US Department of Defense stated that safety checks of nine military laboratories involved in handling live agents and toxins have been ordered following the discovery of anthrax contamination outside the specialized area in Utah.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Army Secretary John McHugh has ordered a safety assessment of nine military laboratories involved in handling live agents and toxins such as anthrax, the US Department of Defense said in a press release on Thursday.

    "The safety review ensures labs will follow appropriate protocols for handling materials, including proper training, record-keeping and standard operating procedures," the press release read.

    McHugh had ordered the review following the discovery of anthrax contamination outside the specialized area at Dugway Proving Ground facility in Utah, according to the release.

    Meanwhile, the laboratory at the Dugway Proving Ground has been decontaminated.

    "There is no evidence of exposure to employees [of the facility] and there was no risk to the general public at any time," the press release said.

    Anthrax is an infection caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium and most of its forms can be lethal if inhaled. Some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment and effective vaccines against anthrax exist.

    The report noted that each of the nine laboratories is expected to report back on its findings within ten days.

    The Defense Department has previously admitted to massive institutional failures after unintentionally sending live anthrax spores to laboratories in 20 US states and seven foreign countries.

    The revelations, first announced in May 2015, prompted the Defense Department to review the handling of inactivated anthrax spores.


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