BANGOR, Maine (WABI) A New Jersey congressman wants to know if government scientists experimented with bio weapons, specifically in ticks, and if they ended up making their way out of the labs and into the public.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last week for the Defense Department's Inspector General to investigate whether any such experiments were done between the years 1950 and 1975.
Ticks are swarming, carrying several diseases, including Lyme, and as one congressman believes, these ticks could come from secret Pentagon experiments.
Conspiracy Theory or truth?
It sounds far fetched, but this theory has been circulating for years.
Griffin Dill, Coordinator of the Tick Lab at the University of Maine says, "The theory being that Lyme disease was one of those bioweapons and that they were doing all this testing on ticks in the New York and Connecticut area and that somehow the ticks were released into the environment and that's what triggered the whole modern Lyme epidemic."
A book titled "Bitten" released earlier this summer investigates the issue and raises many questions, particularly surrounding a Swiss American scientist named Willy Burgdorfer who identified the bacteria that causes Lyme diseases and indeed, the pathogen bears his name.
Happy Dickey, former president of Maine Lyme dot org and a longtime advocate for awareness about the disease, has read the book and says there is proof that Burgdorfer was employed by the U.S. government and did in fact work in biological warfare projects.
She says, "He didn't create the spirochete, but what they would have done is made it happen in a lot more ticks and made the ticks much more dangerous."
Dickey isn't sure if the theory is true, but there's enough evidence, in her opinion, to cause her to question.
She says, "I think it would be very difficult for our government to admit that this was something that happened in our government and that so many people have been affected negatively."
Dill says the bacteria that causes Lyme disease has been around for tens of thousands of years, "It's certainly not a new issue. It wasn't necessarily created in a government lab. So, it's something that's been present here for many years, continues to be present, and is a problem now."
He says the origin is a mute point, the disease is a real issue that needs to be dealt with, and Dickey agrees.
She says, "Our government owes it to our citizens to fess up if it were true or to at least provide more money for research, more attention to this disease. It's pretty hard to escape ticks any where in this country now."
Dickey says it's a possibility the congressman has introduced this theory in an attempt to highlight the issue and bring more awareness through sensationalist tactics.
He and Senator Susan Collins are pushing legislation called the TICK Act requesting roughly $180 million in funding for more research into Lyme disease.