Operation Sea-Spray was a 1950 U.S. Navy secret experiment in which Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii bacteria were sprayed over the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
From September 20 to 27, 1950, the U.S. Navy released the pathogens off the shore of San Francisco. Based on results from monitoring equipment at 43 locations around the city, the Army determined that San Francisco had received enough of a dose for nearly all of the city's 800,000 residents to inhale at least 5,000 of the particles.
On October 11, 1950, eleven residents checked into Stanford Hospital for very rare, serious urinary tract infections. Although ten residents recovered, one patient, Edward J. Nevin, died three weeks later. None of the other hospitals in the city reported similar spikes in cases, and all 11 victims had urinary-tract infections following medical procedures, suggesting that the source of their infections lay inside the hospital.Cases of pneumonia in San Francisco also increased after Serratia marcescens was released, though a causal relation has not been conclusively established. The bacterium was also combined with phenol and an anthrax simulant and sprayed across south Dorset by US and UK military scientists as part of the DICE trials that ran from 1971 to 1975.
The urinary tract outbreak was so unusual that the Stanford doctors wrote it up for a medical journal.
There was no evidence that the Army had alerted health authorities before it blanketed the region with bacteria. Doctors later wondered whether the experiment might be responsible for heart valve infections around the same time as well as serious infections seen among intravenous drug users in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1977 Senate subcommittee hearings, the U.S. Army disclosed the existence of the tests. Army officials noted the pneumonia outbreak in their testimony but said any link to their experiments was totally coincidental. The Army pointed out that no other hospitals reported similar outbreaks and all 11 victims had urinary-tract infections following medical procedures, suggesting that the source of their infections lay inside the hospital.
In 1981, Nevin's surviving family members filed suit against the federal government, alleging negligence and responsibility for the death of Edward J. Nevin, as well as financial and emotional harm caused to Mr. Nevin's wife from the medical costs.
The lower court ruled against them primarily because the bacteria used in the test was unproven to be responsible for Mr. Nevin's death. The Nevin family appealed the suit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to overturn lower court judgments.
In the Senate subcommittee hearings in 1977, the Army revealed:
Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It can occur in four forms: skin, lungs, intestinal, and injection. Symptom onset occurs between one day to over two months after the infection is contracted. The skin form presents with a small blister with surrounding swelling that often turns into a painless ulcer with a black center. The inhalation form presents with fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath. The intestinal form presents with diarrhea which may contain blood, abdominal pains, nausea, and vomiting. The injection form presents with fever and an abscess at the site of drug injection.
Porton Down is a science park in Wiltshire, England, just northeast of the village of Porton, near Salisbury. It is home to two British government facilities: a site of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – known for over 100 years as one of the UK's most secretive and controversial military research facilities, occupying 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) – and a site of Public Health England. It is also home to other private and commercial science organisations, and is expanding to attract other companies.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a Gram-negative, non-motile, encapsulated, lactose-fermenting, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium. It appears as a mucoid lactose fermenter on MacConkey agar.
Serratia is a genus of Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria of the family Yersiniaceae. According to the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing Nomenclature (LPSN), there are currently 19 species of Serratia that are credibly published with accurate names as of 2020: S. aquatilis, S. entomophila, S. ficaria, S. fonticola, S. grimesii, S. liquefaciens, S. marcescens, S. microhaemolytica, S. myotis, S. nematodiphila, S. odoriferae, S. oryzae, S. plymuthica, S. proteamaculans, S. quinivorans corrig, S. rubidaea, S. symbiotica, S. ureilytica, S. vespertilionis. They are typically 1–5 μm in length, do not produce spores, and can be found in water, soil, plants, and animals. Some members of this genus produce a characteristic red pigment, prodigiosin, and can be distinguished from other members of the order Enterobacterales by their unique production of three enzymes: DNase (nucA), lipase, and gelatinase (serralysin). Serratia was thought to be a harmless environmental bacteria until it was discovered that the most common species in the genus, S. marcescens, is an opportunistic pathogen of many animals, including humans. In humans, S. marcescens is mostly associated with nosocomial, or hospital-acquired, infections, but can also cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and endocarditis. S. marcescens is frequently found in showers, toilet bowls, and around wetted tiles as a pinkish to red biofilm but only causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Aside from S marcescens, some rare strains of the Serratia species S. plymuthica, S. liquefaciens, S. rubidaea, and S. odoriferae have been shown to cause infection such as osteomyelitis and endocarditis.
Serratia marcescens is a species of rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacteria in the family Yersiniaceae. It is a facultative anaerobe and an opportunistic pathogen. It was discovered in 1819 by Bartolomeo Bizio in Padua, Italy. S. marcescens is commonly involved in hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), particularly catheter-associated bacteremia, urinary tract infections, and wound infections, and is responsible for 1.4% of HAI cases in the United States. It is commonly found in the respiratory and urinary tracts of hospitalized adults and in the gastrointestinal systems of children. Due to its abundant presence in the environment, and its preference for damp conditions, S. marcescens is commonly found growing in bathrooms, where it manifests as a pink, pink-orange, or orange discoloration and slimy film feeding off phosphorus-containing materials or fatty substances such as soap and shampoo residue.
A biological agent is a bacterium, virus, protozoan, parasite, or fungus that can be used purposefully as a weapon in bioterrorism or biological warfare (BW). In addition to these living or replicating pathogens, toxins and biotoxins are also included among the bio-agents. More than 1,200 different kinds of potentially weaponizable bio-agents have been described and studied to date.
The Kaimingjie germ weapon attack was a Japanese biological warfare bacterial germ strike against Kaimingjie, an area of the port of Ningbo in the Chinese province of Zhejiang in October 1940, during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The United States biological weapons program began in 1943 and was discontinued in 1969.
Enterobacter cloacae is a clinically significant Gram-negative, facultatively-anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium.
Project 112 was a biological and chemical weapon experimentation project conducted by the United States Department of Defense from 1962 to 1973.
Operation LAC was a United States Army Chemical Corps operation which dispersed microscopic zinc cadmium sulfide (ZnCdS) particles over much of the United States and Canada in order to test dispersal patterns and the geographic range of chemical or biological weapons.
The M143 bomblet was a biological cluster bomb sub-munition developed by the United States during the 1960s. The spherical bomblet was the biological version of the Sarin-filled M139 chemical bomblet.
The Deseret Test Center was a U.S. Army operated command in charge of testing chemical and biological weapons during the 1960s. Deseret was headquartered at Fort Douglas, Utah, a former U.S. Army base.
The E48 particulate bomb was a U.S. biological sub-munition designed during the 1950s for use with the E96 cluster bomb.
Numerous experiments performed on human test subjects in the United States have been considered unethical, as they were performed illegally or without the knowledge, consent, or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have occurred throughout American history, but particularly in the 20th century. The experiments include the exposure of humans to many chemical and biological weapons, human radiation experiments, injection of toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests involving mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of others. Many of these tests were performed on children, the sick, and mentally disabled individuals, often under the guise of "medical treatment". In many of the studies, a large portion of the subjects were poor, racial minorities, or prisoners.
Operation Night Train was part of a series of chemical and biological warfare tests overseen by the Deseret Test Center as part of Project 112. The test was conducted near Fort Greely, Alaska from November 1963 to January 1964. The primary purpose of Night Train was to study the penetration of an arctic inversion by a biological aerosol cloud. The test's secondary purpose was to study the downwind travel and diffusion of this cloud when disseminated into different arctic meteorological regimes. All documents about Night Train were considered classified by the United States military until 2002, when the Department of Defense (DOD) released medically relevant information of all the chemical and biological warfare agent tests conducted under Project 112.
Ceftolozane/tazobactam, sold under the brand name Zerbaxa, is a combination antibiotic used for the treatment of complicated urinary tract infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections in adults. Ceftolozane is a cephalosporin antibiotic, developed for the treatment of infections with gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to conventional antibiotics. It was studied for urinary tract infections, intra-abdominal infections and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia.
The Dorset Biological Warfare Experiments were a series of experiments conducted between 1953 and 1975 to determine the extent to which a single ship or aircraft could dispense biological warfare agents over the United Kingdom. The tests between 1971–1975 were known as the DICE trials. The tests were conducted by scientists from Porton Down, initially using Zinc cadmium sulfide (ZnCds) as a simulated agent. Early results clearly showed that one aircraft flying along the coast while spraying its agent could contaminate a target over 100 miles away, over an area of 10,000 square miles. This method of Biological warfare attack and the test program to study it was known as the Large Area Coverage (LAC) concept.
Rosalind Mary Maskell was an English microbiologist known for her work on urinary tract infections.
Cefiderocol, sold under the brand name Fetroja among others, is an antibiotic used to treat complicated urinary tract infections when no other options are available. It is indicated for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is given by injection into a vein.