Lyme disease expert champions investigation into Pentagon weaponizing ticks: 'It's a courageous move'
Lawmakers demand probe into ‘tick weaponization’
Stanford School of Medicine science writer Kris Newby weighs in on whether some disease-carrying ticks are the product of Cold War experiments.
Kris Newby, author of "Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons," discussed how ticks can be weaponized during an interview with "Fox & Friends Sunday" and supported an investigation into whether or not the Pentagon attempted this feat during the Cold War.
She was responding to a call from House lawmakers for an investigation into the Pentagon to find out if it contributed to the outbreak of Lyme disease that's currently ravaging the country.
"I think it’s a courageous move and I’m really excited about it because a lot of those Cold War experiments … right out of Dr. Strangelove, are classified," she said.
Newby, who works as a science writer for the Stanford University School of Medicine, said much of the government's information on the subject is being kept hidden, but expressed optimism about getting to the truth now that Congress is involved.
HOUSE ORDERS PENTAGON TO REVEAL WHETHER IT TURNED TICKS INTO BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is leading the charge and claimed, "bioweapons specialists stuffed ticks with pathogens to cause severe stability, disease, even death to potential enemies."
"When I wrote the book I researched it for five years, and a lot of documents I can’t get to, but with his congressional power, he can do it, and shed some light on this crazy set of tick-borne diseases that appeared around Long Island Sound in the late '60s," Newby said.
Host Pete Hegseth asked if the government's release of ticks into the public was intentional or accidental, and she said it's difficult to know for sure.
"Well, Willie Burgdorfer, who is the discoverer of the Lyme disease bacteria, he didn’t give away all the details but he implied it wasn’t the bacterium … but it was another organism that was genetically modified for warfare," Newby replied.
ARE YOU PUTTING YOURSELF AT RISK FOR LYME DISEASE?
"It’s not 100 percent clear, but Willie did say, 'accidents happen.' There was a lot of trials and pilot programs to try and get the perfect combination of ticks and diseases in them. There was open-air tests. I mean, I found one test on the Virginia coastline where they released over 100,000 Lone Star ticks. They’re the really aggressive ticks that caused that meat allergy."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out publicly and said Lyme disease and other tick-borne related illnesses are on the rise and called for "urgently needed" tangible "tools" to fight the growing epidemic.
The CDC has also identified seven new tick-borne germs found in the United States and claimed there's now a record number of official tick-borne illnesses. The numbers have increased from a total of 48,610 reported cases in 2016 to a total of 59,349 reported cases in 2017.
The agency didn't reference the Pentagon's alleged experiments in their explanation and said the cause of the spike is still "unclear," claiming "a number of factors" could contribute to such an anomaly.
DID THE PENTAGON'S WEAPONIZATION OF TICKS LEAD TO THE SPREAD OF LYME DISEASE?
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"The spread of Lyme disease over the past several decades has been linked to changes in land-use patterns, including reforestation in the northeastern United States. Suburban development in these areas has increased the spread of these germs because people, ticks, deer, and tick hosts such as mice and chipmunks are in close contact," their website reads.
"Changing climate patterns can alter the natural environment and longstanding ecological relationships. Since vector-borne diseases have strong environmental links, we expect that changes in seasonality and location may occur. We don’t know what those changes will be, but we know that climate is only one of several very important factors that influence the distribution and occurrence of vector-borne diseases."
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