A highly contagious, rodent borne virus that is said to have claimed the lives of several people is reportedly missing from a laboratory in Texas. Heath officials say they are now concerned about the possibility of this frightening agent getting into the hands of terrorists for use in biological weapons.

Researchers from the University of Texas say that a laboratory audit found that an exotic strain of the South American Guanarito virus has somehow gone missing; a deadly virus, that even though it is not known to transfer from human-to-human contact, could pose an international safety risk if it were to fall into the wrong hands.

Right now, researchers say they are not sure whose hands the virus is in because their records suggest that it has simply vanished, which could be good news since the vile  could have just been misplaced.  However, playing guessing games with a virus that is given a Biosafety Level 4 is like playing Russian roulette, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

“Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related agent with unknown risk of transmission,” said a representative for the CDC.

Researchers say they suspect that the vile was destroyed, but they give no rationalization as to why they believe this theory to be true. Yet, for all Level 4 risks, the CDC mandates that a logbook be kept detailing all activity on those working in the facility. An investigation into those records has not uncovered any reason to believe that the missing vile is the result of malicious wrongdoing.

Frighteningly, a recent report published by the Government Accountability Office said that security breaches in facilities like the one at the University of Texas could potentially give terrorists access to the necessary tools they need to develop biological weapons for the sole purpose of killing large percentages of the population.

Health officials say that there is no reason to believe that the missing vile is a threat to the community in any way – at least not right now, that is. In the meantime, anyone experiencing symptoms such as high temperature, convulsions and hemorrhaging should seek medical attention immediately.