In 2015, the Department of Defense discovered that one of its laboratories had inadvertently sent live anthrax to almost 200 other labs worldwide over 12 years. Labs routinely inactivate samples of dangerous pathogens so they can be shipped to other labs and safely studied. The samples in this incident were labeled “inactivated” and removed from containment, but the inactivation process was incomplete. The animated GIF below shows how the anthrax spread in this incident. For more information and recommendations on ways to address the risks of incomplete pathogen inactivation, check out the full report.
- Comments on GAO’s WatchBlog? Contact email@example.com.