After consulting with Secretary Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work ordered today a comprehensive review of DoD laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating spore-forming anthrax.
There is no known risk to the general public and an extremely low risk to lab workers from the department's inadvertent shipments of inactivated samples containing small numbers of live anthrax to several laboratories.
As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples. We continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who is leading the ongoing investigation pursuant to its statutory authorities. The Department will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the public.
In addition to the CDC review, Work ordered all DoD laboratories that have these materials to test all previously inactivated spore-forming anthrax in the inventory. Furthermore, DoD is advising labs that received inactive anthrax from the department, to stop working with those samples until further instruction from the DoD and CDC.
Work directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) Frank Kendall to lead a comprehensive review of DoD laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating anthrax.
The DoD review will consist of:
1. Root cause analysis for the incomplete inactivation of anthrax
2. DoD laboratory biohazard safety procedures and protocols
3. Laboratory adherence to established procedures and protocols
4. Identification of systemic problems and the steps necessary to fix those problems.
After the CDC investigation is complete, the department will conduct its own investigation with respect to any apparent lapses in performance and ensure appropriate accountability.
The department takes this matter very seriously and is acting with urgency to address this matter and Work expects review findings within 30 days.