If you receive an unsolicited package in your mail from the Defense Department I suggest you don't open it.
Defense Department officials admitted on Tuesday, June 2nd, that they do not know how many states or countries around the world may have received dangerous samples of live anthrax mistakenly sent from an Army lab in Utah.
In addition, they are admitting that anthrax has been discovered at the Pentagon itself. I guess they must have mailed some to themselves.
Department spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that an ongoing investigation found some live anthrax went to two laboratories in Canada and one in Washington state, marking the third country and 12th U.S. state to receive the potentially deadly bacteria. Warren refrained from confirming where the shipments went to in Canada.
Pentagon officials anticipate more states and countries could emerge as anthrax recipients.
This wouldn't be the first time the Defense Department mailed the deadly substance to whoever.
In 2001, a series of anthrax-laden letters were mailed to key senators and media personalities, resulting in five people dead and exposing nearly 30,000 to the lethal spores. The stamp licker in that fiasco was Bruce Ivins, an Army biodefense researcher.
Don't Panic! The risk to both the public and lab workers appears to be minimal. Labs that work with anthrax for detection, decontamination and training efforts often vaccinate their workers. They are equipped to receive and handle such materials. That does little to assure some 300 million mail recipients that they won't be receiving a "powder keg in the mail.
Acknowledgements by the Department of Defense that it did not know how many live anthrax samples went out, the origins of the spores, and their ultimate destinations was an embarrassing for an organization tasked with protecting the nation against bio-terrorism and bio-warfare attacks. And scary as hell for the rest of us.