Decades after it stopped using the animal-borne virus that causes the disease Q fever as a biological weapon, the Pentagon is still trying to develop a vaccine to protect troops from the highly infectious disease.
Called a class B bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Q fever is carried mostly by sheep and goats and travels by air. U.S. troops fighting in Iraq returned home with the disease, military medical reports show.
The United States stopped its chemical and biological weapons program in 1969. According to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which is leading the search for a vaccine, the United States “weaponized” Coxiella burnetii, the virus that causes Q fever.
DTRA will conduct a seminar in December for potential researchers seeking a cure, documents released this week show.