WASHINGTON (AP) -- A laboratory on the grounds of the Pentagon compound is among dozens of facilities that may have mistakenly received live anthrax, officials said Tuesday.
Officials suggested the Pentagon lab case may have happened several years ago, although the timing was unclear. Some labs around the country and in South Korea mistakenly received the suspect anthrax in recent months.
A comprehensive investigation has been under way since last week.
The Pentagon has struggled to keep up with the expanding scope of its investigation into where the potentially live anthrax was sent after it mistakenly left the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and why it was not detected earlier. A key question is why some portion of Dugway's anthrax samples were not rendered inactive, or dead, before sending them to research labs.
1 of Pentagon's own labs may have received suspect anthrax
ARLINGTON, VA - JUNE 03: Director of Medical Programs for DoD Chemical and Biological Defense Cdr. Franca Jones demonstrates the protocol for shipping anthrax sample during a news briefing on the DoD Lab Review and Anthrax shipment investigation June 3, 2015 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon announced today the Defense Department may have accidentally shipped live anthrax samples out to at least 51 labs in 17 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - JUNE 03: Director of Medical Programs for DoD Chemical and Biological Defense Cdr. Franca Jones demonstrates the protocol for shipping anthrax sample as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall looks on during a news briefing on the DoD Lab Review and Anthrax shipment investigation June 3, 2015 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon announced today the Defense Department may have accidentally shipped live anthrax samples out to at least 51 labs in 17 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In this May 11, 2003, file photo, Microbiologist Ruth Bryan works with BG nerve agent simulant in Class III Glove Box in the Life Sciences Test Facility at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The specialized airtight enclosure is also used for hands-on work with anthrax and other deadly agents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is investigating what the Pentagon called an inadvertent shipment of live anthrax spores to government and commercial laboratories in as many as nine states, as well as one overseas, that expected to receive dead spores. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
This image depicted numbers of Bacillus anthracis bacterial colonies, which had been allowed to grow on sheep's blood agar, SBA, for a 24 hour period. Note the classical appearance exhibited in the colonial morphology including a ground-glass, non-pigment. (Photo via Getty)
Chemistry student Jorge Rodriguez Martinez holds a sample of billions of Anthrax bacteria at the National School of Biological Sciences in Mexico City, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001. Two germ banks tucked away in Mexico City stock dozens of petri dishes filled with anthrax, the bacteria that have sparked a worldwide panic. But there are no armed guards, no security cameras and no health officials tottering about in germ-proof space suits. In fact, these labs sell, swap or even give away the potentially deadly microbe to those with scientific credentials. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
Dr. Mohammed Ali, left, and Dr. Abdul Wakil stands in front of empty bottles of anthrax vaccine in a Ministry of Agriculture laboratory in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001. The laboratory, which was under Taliban control for five years, produced anthrax vaccine for animals. The now defeated Taliban regime has long denied being involved in chemical or biological weapons research, but it seems to have taken an interest in the work being done at the lab, according to scientists there, and it wasrepeatedly hit by U.S. bombers. (AP Photo/Marco Di Lauro)
Dr. Abdul Wakil holds a bottle of solution used to make anthrax vaccine for animals in a Ministry of Agriculture laboratory in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001. The laboratory, which was under Taliban control for five years, produced anthrax vaccine for animals. The now defeated Taliban regime has long denied being involved in chemical or biological weapons research, but it seems to have taken an interest in the work being done at the lab, according to scientists there, and it was repeatedly hit by U.S. bombers. (AP Photo/Marco Di Lauro)
SLUG:NA/ANTHRAX DATE:10/16/08 QUANTICO, VA CREDIT: DOMINIC BRACCO II From left, forensic examiner Jason Bannan Ph.D., supervisory special agent Scott Decker, and supervisory special agent Matthew Feinberg, pose for a portrait on Oct. 16, 2008 at a lab in Quantico, VA. The three helped solve the anthrax investigation. (Photo by Dominic Bracco Ii/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - May 6: Amir Ettehadieh, Director of Research and Development at Universal Detection Technology, walks past the prototype anthrax-detection device unveiled May 6, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Universal Detection Technology's Anthrax Smoke Detector monitors the overall level of spores in the air. A sudden spike in the level would indicate a release of spores such as would occur during in a biological terror attack. Instant anthrax exposure detection could save lives by giving patients time to take Cipro before the end of the four-day incubation period. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The sequence of an anthrax DNA fragment is analyzed under ultraviolet light in this undated handout photo from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M. Once the sequence has been determined by electrophoresis or ultra-fast flow cytometry, it can be compared to the anthrax sequence database at the lab to determine its age and geographic origin. (AP Photo/Los Alamos National Laboratory)
A microbiologist checks a petri dish for a bacteria culture in the micro biological laboratory of the regional authorities for food security and consumer protection in the German state Thuringia in Erfurt, eastern Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001. Final tests on powder found in a letter that touched off an anthrax scare in Germany found no trace of a deadly bacterium, speakers of the government lab Robert Koch Institute said Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001. The letter was received by a person in the town of Rudolstadt in Thuringia. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Microbiologist Johannetsy Avillan streaks a sample of a bacterium to a blood plate in an anaerobe lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (D-PA), holds up a bag as she speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, during a hearing on the incident last month at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that handles bioterrorism agents. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Microbiologist Tatiana Travis works with tubes of bacteria samples in an antimicrobial resistance and characterization lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An employee of ATEV Protein Processing Corp. wearing protective gear works at a cattle farm near Tiszafured, 147 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, Friday, July 4, 2014, after persons were hospitalized due to possible anthrax infection. The patients are linked to an illegal slaughter of two cows at the farm where an on-the-spot inspection revealed the bacterium of anthrax. (AP Photo/MTI, Zsolt Czegledi)
FILE - In this July 16, 2014 file photo a chart is on display on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing about an incident at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that handles bioterrorism agents. Michael Farrell head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that potentially exposed workers to live anthrax, resigned an agency spokesman said Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE - This Jan. 27, 2010, file photo shows the main gate at Dugway Proving Ground military base, about 85 miles southwest Salt Lake City. U.S. officials say systemic problems caused an Army facility to accidentally send live anthrax to other labs for more than a decade. At a press briefing Thursday, July 23, 2015 Pentagon officials said half the lots of anthrax produced at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah contained live anthrax after attempts to kill the bacteria failed. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)
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Earlier Tuesday, the Pentagon said it determined that possibly live anthrax was mistakenly sent to labs in Canada and Washington state, in addition to the numerous labs in the U.S. and abroad that were announced last week.
A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said Canadian and Washington state authorities have been notified.
Patrick Gaebel, a spokesman for Health Canada, said Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was told by the Pentagon that a test kit sent there in 2006 could possibly contain live anthrax bacterium. Gaebel said the kit was intended for the lab to validate its anthrax detection system. He said they've located the testing kit and have confirmed it has not been used for over five years.
"There is very low risk of illness and there have been no reports of illness among the staff," Gaebel said.
Donn Moyer, a spokesman with the Washington state Department of Health, said the anthrax was sent to InBios, a private lab in Seattle. Moyer said it was not opened and there was no exposure.
Another U.S. defense official said the suspect anthrax may also have been received at a lab on the grounds of the Pentagon, although not inside the building. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency uses inactivated anthrax to calibrate biological threat sensors, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss Pentagon security. The officials said it was unclear how recently the Pentagon agency received the suspect samples.
The anthrax was supposed to have been inactivated before being sent to labs across the U.S. for research but apparently was not.
Massachusetts state health officials said Tuesday that a private lab called IQuum, owned by Roche Molecular in Marlborough, Mass., received small amounts of active anthrax spores mistakenly delivered by the Defense Department. The sample was last handled at IQuum in July 2014 and has been frozen since then, state health officials said.
The Pentagon and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the scope and details of the anthrax shipments.
Warren said there is no known risk to public health.