Rep. Chris Smith, who represents Lakewood introduced an amendment ordering the Defense Department’s Inspector General to look into whether the Pentagon experimented using ticks and other insects from 1950 to 1975.
Rep. Smith, who is the founding co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus, said that he pushed for this amendment after reading a book claiming that military bioweapon experts “stuffed ticks with pathogens to cause severe disability, disease and even death to potential enemies.”
Arguing on the House floor for the passage of the amendment, Smith said “For years, books and articles have been written suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities, including Fort Detrick and Plum Island, to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons.”
The amendment orders the Inspector General to release a report stating whether the alleged experiments went awry and the ticks were released into the public, causing the massive amounts of Lyme disease cases in the US. “I believe Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true,” said Smith.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, some 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. The disease causes fatigue, flu-like symptoms and a red bulls-eye rash around the area of infection. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause severe symptoms, including arthritis and facial paralysis.