Stanford University among 18 labs that received live anthrax

STANFORD, Calif. -- An anthrax scare has now spread to Stanford University. This happened after the U.S. military accidentally shipped samples of what it thought were dead anthrax spores, to facilities in nine states and one lab overseas.

The vial of anthrax was sent to a school of medicine lab last July. Stanford officials say there is no threat to campus or public safety. In fact, it's no longer there. That's because it was sent to the CDC.

The university was notified early Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control about the investigation.

Stanford, along with 17 other laboratories in nine states and an Army lab in South Korea, received a vial that may have contained very small quantities of live anthrax spores from an Army laboratory in Utah.

Officials with the university say they did a safety review once they were notified and discovered the material was handled by two individuals under appropriate biosafety guidelines.

It was last opened by the lab on July 29, 2014.

The CDC told Stanford officials the material is very unlikely to pose any risk.

"And it's been 10 months since the university did any work with the material," said Stanford spokesperson Lisa Lapin. "So we're well beyond the point that anyone would show symptoms and the material has been very secure all this time. And it is now being shipped back to the CDC for an analysis."

The U.S. Department of Defense normally ships live anthrax at high levels of biosecurity and safety. But in this case, they were shipped at a lower level because the spores were thought to be dead.

The Army chief of staff says the problem may have been a failure in the technical process of killing the anthrax samples.

U.S. military personnel may have actually used live anthrax in a training exercise, with 22 personnel potentially exposed.

So far no one has shown signs of sickness, but health and research officials have fanned out to all the labs to see how the potentially deadly material was handled and if personnel are at risk.

The Stanford laboratory that received the anthrax is studying immune system responses for potential vaccines and treatments for biological threats.

Officials say the university is offering medical consultations for any lab employees with concerns. null
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.