The Defense Department’s Inspector General is called to investigate whether the Pentagon created biological weapons using ticks and other insects.
Rep. Chris Smith, introduced the amendment that was passed last week calling for an investigation as to whether the pentagon infected ticks with Lyme disease and whether that was released onto the public.
The Inspector General is asked to investigate the pentagon’s activities and experiments that were conducted between 1950 and 1975.
Rep. Smith said his inspiration came from his extensive research on the subject.
“A number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, to turn ticks and other insects into bio-weapons.”
Lyme disease is mostly spread by ticks and has caused mild to severe symptoms. According to the CDC, each year, more than 300,000 people are affected with the disease.
Symptoms include, fatigue, inflammation, muscle aches, headaches, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and a fever. At its worse, it can cause problems in the nervous system and heart. Lyme disease, left untreated, can also cause neurological problems such as temporary paralysis.
Chris Smith said, “My amendment tasks the DoD inspector general to ask the hard questions and report back."
If the Defense Department did experiment with Lyme disease and ticks then some answers are expected according to Smith.
“If true, what were the parameters of the program? Who ordered it?” and, “Was there any accidental release anywhere or at any time of any of the diseased ticks?”
Smith also asks whether that information can help with today’s research on Lyme disease. Could the symptoms of this disease be alleviated or completely diminished?
Earlier this year, Smith, who for a long time has been advocating awareness about Lyme disease, introduced the ‘TICK Act’. The ‘TICK Act’ includes nationwide strategies to fight Lyme disease. This is a measure that promotes a holistic government. If the bill passes, $180 million will be used to fund the research and treatments on Lyme disease as well as strategies to eradicate it.
Currently the CDC puts $11 million a year on the research of Lyme disease. According to President of the Lyme Disease Association Pat Smith,
“We need to find out: is there anything in this research that was supposedly done that can help us to find information that is germane to patient health and combating the spread of the disease."
We can only hope that this is a step forward in the process that aids the eradication of Lyme disease once and for all.