Thursday, April 27, 2006

Anthrax inventory doesn't add up at lab / Missing bioterror substances have officials guessing

Two vials of a deadly bacteria may be missing from a government lab in Trenton - or officials might simply have miscounted, they said yesterday.

Over the last three weeks, officials have been readying samples from the Trenton Distribution Center - a postal facility in Hamilton where anthrax-laced letters were discovered in 2001 - for a move to a new, safer bioterrorism facility.

An inventory turned up 350 two-inch test tubes of liquid-encased anthrax spores, when 352 should have been on site at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratory where the anthrax has been stored since its removal from the postal facility.


In the past year, two New Jersey laboratories have been unable to account for plague-infested mice and vials of deadly anthrax spores, and top state officials are scrambling to devise better ways to safeguard deadly material.


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