US, South Korean task force probes anthrax procedures at Osan Air Base

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A Korean banner near U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul on Friday, July 24, 2015, urges America to halt the spread of anthrax. (Ashley Rowland/Stars and Stripes)
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A Korean banner near U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul on Friday, July 24, 2015, urges America to halt the spread of anthrax. (Ashley Rowland/Stars and Stripes)

US, South Korean task force probes anthrax procedures at Osan Air Base

by: Ashley Rowland | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: August 07, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea — A joint U.S.-South Korean task force on Thursday visited the Osan Air Base facility where a live anthrax sample was mistakenly shipped last spring.

The visit was announced last week as part of the group’s efforts to investigate how live anthrax entered the country undetected, and to determine how to prevent a reoccurrence. Personnel were scheduled to demonstrate how the sample was handled and discarded, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said last week.

Twenty-two people may have been exposed to the live anthrax, which had been sent to Osan as part of a training program and was believed to be inert. Those personnel received medical treatment, and none showed signs of anthrax exposure.

U.S. Forces Korea previously said the sample had been destroyed and posed no threat to the public. However, the accidental shipment has sparked protests outside some U.S. bases and calls in South Korea for Seoul to have stricter oversight of biological agents brought into the country by the U.S. military.

Thursday’s visit was an effort to “defuse public worries by having firsthand verification” on whether appropriate safety measures were taken at the facility after the live sample was discovered, the MND previously said.

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Twitter: @Rowland_Stripes

Tags: Osan, News, Base Info
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