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Delaware lab closes after delivery of possibly live anthrax

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Anthrax under a microscope

A private, commercial lab in Delaware is undergoing decontamination after being sent possibly active anthrax spores from the U.S. Department of Defense. 

One person directly handled the sample and is undergoing antibiotic treatment. An undisclosed number of other staff are also being treated out of caution according to state Department of Public Health officials.

DPH says they learned of the spores Saturday and immediately ordered the lab to close until further notice. They wouldn’t identify which lab received the sample.

An outside contractor will use vaporized hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the lab within the next 48 hours, which may take up to three days to complete.

The sample is now being tested as to whether the spores are live or inactive at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says there is no known public risk at this time.

The bacterium Bacillus anthracis reproduce through those spores, which cause the deadly anthrax disease when they’re inhaled, ingested or come into contact with an open cut or skin lesion.

Spores were sent from an Army facility in Utah to labs in several states, including California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.