Pentagon Police Force Lab Did Not Receive Live Anthrax

Anthrax samples sent to a laboratory belonging to the Pentagon's police force have been found not to contain live anthrax, a Defense Department official told ABC News. The laboratory itself was not located at the Pentagon.

The Pentagon has acknowledged it is trying to determine the scale of similar deliveries, and so far it appears that research laboratories in a dozen states and three countries may have received samples containing live anthrax spores.

Earlier Tuesday, a Defense Department official said that the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), which provides security for the iconic building, may have also received some live anthrax used to calibrate detection equipment.

PFPA manages a laboratory, which conducts biological surveillance of the Pentagon environment. The laboratory is not located at the Pentagon, the Defense Department official told ABC News.

Received in 2007 or 2008, the shipment sent to the PFPA laboratory had drawn scrutiny because it came from a batch of previously irradiated anthrax at the Armys Dugway Proving Ground in Utah that has since been found to contain live and inactivated anthrax spores.

Before arriving at the PFPA laboratory, the samples had been diluted at a contract laboratory in Maryland. The Defense Department official said no viable organisms have been found in the diluted quality assurance samples at the contract lab.

Earlier, the Pentagon acknowledged that Canada may have also received live anthrax from the Dugway facility.

We have informed the Canadians, said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, noting the testing to determine if there is live anthrax in the batch sent to Canada will take several days. He did not have information about when this shipment was sent to Canada.

The Pentagon said last week that potentially live anthrax samples had also been sent to laboratories in South Korea and Australia.

So far, it is believed that laboratories in as many as 12 states may have received samples containing live anthrax. Last Friday, a Pentagon statement said 24 laboratories in 11 states were believed to have received the shipments that could contain live spores.

"The Defense Department does not know the scale and scope of this problem, Warren said.

The Pentagon launched a comprehensive review on Friday of the procedures, techniques and handling of anthrax at its laboratories.

Warren stressed that a review of handling and shipment procedures has determined that there is no threat to the general public from the mistaken shipments.

As samples are located, they are sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing to determine the presence of live anthrax.

So far, that testing has confirmed live anthrax only at the laboratory in Maryland that initially detected live spores in a sample of supposedly inactivated anthrax.

The 12 states are: California, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Washington state.

Warren stressed that so far the DoD has determined that there has been no risk to the general public.