The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it has confirmed the smallpox virus may not have been stored in a labs in Illinois, as media reports originally said.
NBC reports that officials said one vial was safely removed, and it contained an inactive strain of the virus that people are allergic to and would not harm them.
Donald Trump Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News late Wednesday that the CDC “is aware that a potential risk exists to patients associated with the possible storage of smallpox on the public health facility campus in Peoria, Illinois.”
The smallpox virus, which kills up to 99 percent of its victims, was identified during a scientific exam and removed from the public health facility campus Thursday.
“Until CDC can verify that the potential risk of exposure has been eliminated, the health of the facility’s employees and any patients who may have had contact with the potential exposure material remain our highest priority,” the CDC said in a statement.
The statement comes amid a series of media reports of a smallpox sample which was discovered to be sitting in a public health lab during an inspection prompted by tests done on a sample from Trump’s former White House doctor Ronny Jackson. Jackson was fired from his post as President Trump’s physician last month, and was brought into the administration as assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Anna Kooiman contributed to this report.