Pentagon To Review Whether Ticks Were Used As Biological Weapons
The US House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into whether the Pentagon tried to use ticks and other insects as biological weapons.
It's a theory that has been floating around for decades but has been passed off as a conspiracy -- until now.
Republican congressman, Chris Smith presented an amendment last week, calling for the Defence Department's Inspector General to look into whether the military experimented with ticks between the years of 1950 and 1975.
The change was approved, with a review expected to get underway in the coming months.
Smith said the amendment was inspired by “a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at U.S. government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland and Plum Island, New York to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons."
The most recent, Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, was released in May and contains interviews with Dr Willy Burgdorfer who discovered the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
“It turns out Dr Burgdorfer was also a bioweapons specialist,” Smith said. “The interviews combined with access to Dr Burgdorfer’s lab files reveal that he and other bioweapons specialists stuffed ticks with pathogens to cause severe disability, disease and even death to potential enemies.”
The number of Americans suffering from Lyme disease is exploding, with 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
The disease can be debilitating, causing fatigue and flu-like symptoms and can be treated with antibiotics.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can result in nerve damage, shooting pains, and paralysis.
If the Pentagon's investigation finds that the defence department did, in fact, weaponize Lyme disease in ticks, a report will be ordered into who ordered the testing and whether or not the ticks were released by accident or by design.
"I believe Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true," Smith said.
What about Australia?
Lyme disease is caused by a small family of bacteria that fall under the long-winded name Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex and has never been detected in Australia.
"The concept of chronic Lyme disease is disputed and not accepted by most conventional medical practitioners, not only in Australia but around the world," the Health Department website explained.
"The likelihood that Australia has an indigenous form of classical Lyme disease is questionable given a causative microorganism with a competent vector is yet to be found.
"Whether a form of tick-borne human borreliosis exists in Australia is yet to be determined," it said.