Pentagon officials insisted there was no threat to public health but the latest numbers showed small concentrations of suspected live anthrax were shipped to 51 labs in 17 states and the US capital Washington, as well as to Australia, Canada and a US base in South Korea. When the Pentagon first acknowledged the problem last week, officials initially said more than a dozen labs were affected in nine states. Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work and senior officials acknowledged the number of labs involved likely would rise as an investigation into the problem unfolds.
- About 300 government and private laboratories work with anthrax in the United States, officials said.
- Although officials played down fears of any serious health danger, the stream of embarrassing details in recent days has raised questions about the Pentagon’s competence in managing the deadly pathogen.
- At least four batches of anthrax that officials had believed were “dead” have turned out to be active, according to Work.