Intended for healthcare professionals


US Pentagon is told to investigate claims that Lyme disease is escaped bioweapon from cold war

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 19 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4784
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The US House of Representatives has ordered the Pentagon’s inspector general to conduct a review of whether the defence department “experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.”1

The demand for a review, proposed by Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, passed easily among a raft of other late amendments to a House bill on defence spending. It must still be “reconciled” with the Senate’s version of the spending bill, but Smith said that he was confident of Senate support.

He told the House that his amendment had been “inspired by 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 bioweapons.”

Biological research

Plum Island, a secure government biological research site since 1945, lies directly across a narrow stretch of water from Lyme, …

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