Contagious virus sent to military medical facilities destroyed
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Specimens of a highly contagious virus erroneously sent to six military medical facilities in Germany, Belgium, England and Italy have been destroyed and pose no risk to servicemembers or their families, according to a press release Friday from the Army Europe Regional Medical Command.
The samples were sent in test kits received by Army hospitals at Landstuhl, Heidelberg and Würzburg in German, at Vicenza, Italy, and at the Supreme Allied Powers Europe health clinic in Belgium and the RAF Lakenheath medical clinic in England.
They were destroyed in accordance with guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control, the press release said.
European Command public affairs officials confirmed that no other U.S. medical facilities in Europe received kits.
The samples of the Influenza A virus were in kits routinely sent out by the College of American Pathologists to ensure laboratories meet testing standards. The kits are sent to laboratories worldwide.
Of 3,747 such kits that contained the virus, military medical facilities in Europe received eight, according to Brig. Gen. Carla Hawley-Bowland, the ERMC commander.
“I am confident that we have found and destroyed every specimen that has been in our possession,” she in the press release.