MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. US microbiologists were interested in studying tick-borne infections in Ukraine and research in this direction was funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force Igor Kirillov said at a briefing on Thursday.
"[Just as German researchers], the US microbiologists were particularly interested in the tick-borne infections, research in this direction was financed by the DTRA within the framework of the UP-1, UP-8 projects," he said following an analysis of documents on the US military biological activity in Ukraine.
The general noted that a separate project researching ixodid ticks who transmit multiple particularly dangerous infections (tularemia, West Nile fever, Crimean-Congo fever) was implemented by specialists from the University of Texas.
According to the military official, ticks were collected primarily in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions where natural hotspots of infections, typical for the Russian Federation, are located. That said, this research coincided with a rapid rise in the incidence of Lyme disease among the Ukrainian population as well as the increased number of ticks in several Russian regions bordering Ukraine.
This issue is being studied by relevant Russian experts jointly with the Russian Defense Ministry’s specialists, the general added.