Unknown to most of us, the government took part in many trials to see if they could spread biological weapons effectively. Drawing from an article I found on Listverse, there was certainly more than one test with different results. Guess who the test subjects were? That's right, boys and girls! The average everyday citizens of the U.S.! Now that's pretty darn scary to me!
Operation Big Itch
Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) in Utah was established as a military installation with the reallocation of public lands in 1942. By the 1950s, there was a definite need for a remote testing facility, a role that DPG would fill nicely. It became the location of the Biological Warfare Assessment Laboratories in 1954. With that title came the necessity of figuring out whether or not insects were viable for use as delivery systems for various types of nasty diseases. Specifically, they wanted to know if they could deliver the plague via fleas.
Operation Big Itch dropped countless fleas on the Utah desert. Cages of guinea pigs were set up on the ground to gauge how successful the drop was, as there were concerns about whether or not the fleas would survive and how much they would spread if they made it to the ground. The fleas were sealed in containers that were designed to rupture with the firing of a CO2 cartridge at an altitude of 300–600 meters (1,000–2,000 ft).
The experiment was something of a success. The guinea pigs became infested with the fleas, but it was also decided that it was necessary to drop the fleas close to the target to make sure that the bugs made it to their hosts. Not all of the drops went off flawlessly. In one attempt, one of the cartridges fired while it was still in the plane, and the crew was swarmed by fleas.
Overall, the test was enough of a success that there were plans in the works to build a massive flea-breeding facility that would raise 50 million fleas a week. Producing enough plague virus for all of those fleas wasn’t as easy, however. When researchers failed in their attempts to figure out how to do so, the plan fell by the wayside.
Nice to know where at least some of your hard earned tax dollars are and were being spent, isn't it? Before you start thinking that the Hermit is turning into a conspiracy nut, let me suggest that you at least Google the name "Operation Big Itch" and you might be surprised at some of the things you turn up! I'm serious!
Coffee out on the patio today. Don't worry...I'll bring the flea spray!