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How The Army Accidentally Shipped Live Anthrax To Military Bases
Potentially deadly live anthrax spores were mistakenly sent to a laboratory in Hampton Roads from an Army facility in Utah, according to a map in a government watchdog report.
The Army has said samples of anthrax that were supposed to have been inactivated were sent to 194 federal, academic and commercial laboratories in every state, nine countries and three U.S. territories. There were a total of 575 shipments of live anthrax delivered to labs from 2004 through 2015, although the Army says no illnesses were reported.
The mistaken shipments were first discovered in May 2015, when a private company in Maryland notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it found live spores in a shipment from the Army that should have contained only dead spores. The company was developing a diagnostic test to identify biological threats.
A subsequent investigation found that live spores were mistakenly sent from Utah to 88 primary recipients, who then sent samples to 106 secondary recipients.
The Army has not specified which laboratories received the live samples. But a Government Accountability Office report released last week included a map that shows a laboratory in Hampton Roads was one of the primary recipients. The GAO said it could not elaborate on specific sites beyond the map.
General Accounting Office image.
The CDC is prohibited by law from disclosing the names or locations of laboratories that handle anthrax and other deadly toxins. But 122 labs are registered and authorized to work with anthrax in the United States, according to CDC spokesman Jason McDonald.
The strain that was shipped from the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah’s western desert was an “extremely harmful” variety that was the same as those sent in letters to two U.S. senators and multiple media outlets in a 2001 attack, according to the Army. At that time, 22 people contracted anthrax and five of them died. The military works with biological agents to develop countermeasures for U.S. troops.
Yet Army officials said in a news conference in January that safeguards were in place so that nobody was threatened due to the errant shipments.
“At no time were lab technicians, nor the American public, at risk based on these inadvertent shipments,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, who investigated the mistaken deliveries.
Ostrowski noted that technicians who work with anthrax always wear protective equipment, and it was shipped in a secure manner in a liquid vial. Anthrax is spread by skin contact with infected animal tissue, bites from insects that feed on infected animals, inhalation and ingestion of contaminated undercooked meat.
“So again, not aerosol. Anthrax or bacillus anthracis, is mostly placed in an aerosol venue,” Ostrowski said.
The GAO report that contains the map showing the anthrax deliveries focused on other incidents where various pathogens weren’t inactivated before shipment. The report found 21 instances – 11 more than labs previously reported – between 2003 and 2015. The report also said the actual number could be higher because there’s no standardized way for labs to report a problem or a way to easily access databases.
© 2016 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.