One disturbing consequence of the shrinking Aral Sea is that Vozrozhdeniya Island is now connected to the mainland. Between 1948 and 1991, the island was home to a secret Soviet biological weapons testing ground. Weaponized agents tested include anthrax, tularemia, brucellosis, the black plague, typhus, smallpox, and botulism. Animals on whom tests were conducted include horses, monkeys, sheep, donkeys, and rats.
The Aral Sea has essentially vanished because the Amu and Syr Rivers were redirected by the USSR to irrigate rice and cotton fields. Hopefully, the new connection between the disease island and the Kazakh and Uzbek coasts will not permit organisms to escape on rats or fleas, or criminal or terrorist groups to gain access to infectious materials.
In 2002, a team from the American Defense Threat Reduction Agency eliminated between 100 and 200 tonnes of anthrax, over a three month period.