The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that samples of live anthrax were unintentionally mailed to labs in nine states and South Korea, as officials had believed that the samples were dead.
Col. Steve Warren, the Pentagon’s acting press secretary, told reporters there were no suspected or confirmed cases of infection and no risk to the public, according to ABC News. Anthrax can cause severe illness and even death among people who come in contact with it; dead anthrax samples can be used for research.
The samples were apparently shipped from Dugway Proving Ground in Utah on April 30 to a military lab in Maryland, then distributed to labs in nine states. After a lab in Maryland found out their package included live samples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was alerted.
The CDC and the Department of Defense are working together to investigate the matter.