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Live anthrax samples shipped to 3 Canadian laboratories by U.S. military, report says

Live anthrax samples were shipped to three laboratories in Canada by a U.S. military lab, USA Today reported on Monday, following disclosures last week that samples of the bacteria were mistakenly sent to 11 U.S. states and two other countries.

Names of Canadian labs have not been released

This January 2010 photo hows the main gate at Dugway Proving Ground military base, southwest Salt Lake City, Utah. USA Today is reporting the U.S. military sent live anthrax samples to three labs in Canada from the Dugway Proving Ground. (Jim Urquhart/Associated Press)

Live anthrax samples were shipped to three laboratories in Canada by a U.S. military lab, USA Today reported on Monday, following disclosures last week that samples of the bacteria were mistakenly sent to 11 U.S. states and two other countries.

The newspaper cited two U.S. Defence Department officials as saying the samples sent to Canada came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the other samples appear to trace back to as well. It is one of the U.S. military labs responsible for inactivation and shipping of biological material.

A Defence Department official said on Monday the Pentagon had nothing to announce about the anthrax shipments and that the investigation is continuing.

The U.S. military said on Friday a total of 11 states had received "suspect samples," as did Australia and a U.S. air base in South Korea. It ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the potentially deadly bacteria.

It advised all laboratories for now to stop working with any "inactive" samples sent from the Defence Department.

Tom Skinner, a spokesperson at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, told CBC News they have not been releasing the names of the labs and facilities that received the anthrax samples. He said the same would apply to any samples that may have been shipped to Canada.

To date, the United States has acknowledged that four U.S. civilians have begun taking preventive measures that usually include the anthrax vaccine, antibiotics or both.

Twenty-two people at the base in South Korea were also given precautionary medical measures, although none had shown signs of exposure.

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