Pentagon officials announced on Wednesday that 51 laboratories in 17 states, Washington D.C., and three foreign countries may have received live samples of anthrax, reported CBS News.
Last month, Dugway Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility near Salt Lake City, Utah, mistakenly shipped live batches of anthrax to several commercial and military labs. Initial reports said labs in nine states and one American military base in South Korea received the live batch. The number of recipients is believed to have increased.
Dugway attempted to irradiate the anthrax samples intended for shipment, but the process failed resulting in live anthrax cultures.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said the Pentagon will continue to update the relevant information as the Department of Defense (DoD) continues its investigation. Work noted that there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax poisoning.
High-ranking military officials said that the live samples of anthrax pose no threat to the general public. Officials also said that the sample were in liquid form, which is less dangerous than anthrax in dry form.
The states that received the live samples are California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, and Washington D.C.
Shipments were also sent to South Korea, Australia, and Canada.
Top officials with the DoD said that the appropriate precautions have been taken, and anyone suspected of anthrax exposure will be promptly treated.