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No crime apparent in missing virus case

FORT DETRICK, Md., April 22 (UPI) -- No criminal misconduct had been found as yet in the disappearance of a deadly germs from a U.S. Army biomedical facility in Maryland, official said Wednesday.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command said investigators were nearly done with their probe into how the lethal pathogens disappeared from Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory in Frederick, The Washington Post reported.

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Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the criminal investigation division, said the command "has found no evidence to date of any criminality related to the unaccounted-for items," the newspaper said.

Three small vials of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus were determined to have been unaccounted for last year, Caree Vander Linden, spokeswoman for the laboratory, said.

The virus is mosquito borne and usually causes a mild flu-like illness. However, it also cause brain inflammation and death. It has potential for germ warfare but is far less lethal than some other agents.

The existence of the investigation was first reported by the Frederick News-Post.

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