Author: billwilliam [G-Translators/Authentic Writing Team]
Communist China’s biological weapons aren’t limited to Covid-19. Besides coronaviruses, the People’s Liberation Army is also obsessed with tick-borne pathogens for their potential as biological weapons. Bacteria or viruses from ticks may cause multi-organ failure or severe fever.
Rickettsiae and Rickettsiae-like bacteria
Rickettsiae are a group of obligate intracellular parasitic bacteria, which means these pathogens must stay inside host cells to grow and replicate. Certain species of Rickettsiae or Rickettsiae-like bacteria are the causative agents of severe diseases including Q fever, spotted fever, and typhus. These diseases are usually spread by vectors such as ticks or lice, yet they are also transmissible by aerosols. The PLA is particularly interested in Rickettsiae because this type of bacteria is easy to weaponize—they are resistant to desiccation and can survive the process of drying during aerosolization.
Once Rickettsia bacteria enter the body, they first invade and replicate in the epithelial cells of blood vessels. Lysis of infected epithelial cells releases a large number of Rickettsia bacteria into the bloodstream, causing extensive infection in the circulatory system and vital organs. Rickettsia bacteria can also secrete endotoxins that aggravate damage to body organs.
One of the diseases caused by such pathogen is Q fever. Here is the translation of an excerpt on page 97 of General Yang Ruifu’s biowarfare textbook “Medical Science on Defense against Biohazards” :
“Coxiella burnetii (also known as Q fever Rickettsiae) is the pathogen for Q fever. Q fever is a zoonotic disease of significance. The primary symptoms of acute Q fever are fever, headache, and muscle pain, usually accompanied by pneumonia and hepatitis. The symptoms of chronic Q fever are continuous or intermittent fever for a prolonged time, accompanied by endocarditis (heart inflammation), chronic hepatitis, or osteomyelitis (bone marrow infection). Coxiella burnetii is mainly transmissible to humans by the respiratory tract; it is an important incapacitating biowarfare agent.”
The original Chinese text is shown below.
In another excerpt on page 98, General Yang’s biowarfare book mentions releasing the aerosols of Q fever pathogens in bioterrorism. This kind of pathogen is suitable for weaponization because it can survive for months or years in dried state.  Below is the translation:
“Coxiella burnetii has higher resistance to physical factors than most non-spore-forming bacteria and can withstand aerosolization. Coxiella burnetii can survive for more than 40 months in skimmed milk. Coxiella burnetii is particularly resistant to desiccation; it can survive for 7-10 months in wool. Coxiella burnetii can survive for years in dried excrements or excretions of infected animals and ticks. The storage and transportation of Coxiella burnetii is easy; it can cause large-scale human or animal infections through aerosol release or the propagation of dust.
Using Coxiella burnetii for bioterrorism is mainly done by releasing pathogen-containing aerosols. Coxiella burnetii enters the human body and causes infection through the respiratory tract. The ID50 (infective dose for 50% of population) for human is 100 Coxiella bacteria. In cities and non-epidemic regions, because most people have no immunity against Coxiella burnetii, attacks with such a pathogen can result in a pandemic of Q fever.”
The original Chinese text is shown below:
Another species of pathogenic Rickettsiae is Rickettsia rickettsii, the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. An excerpt on page 101 of General Yang’s biowarfare book envisions the deliberate release of this pathogen in aerosols to infect humans.  Here is the translation of the excerpt:
“The vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is hard-bodied ticks. Humans contract this disease through tick bites or through open cuts on skin that contact Rickettsia-containing tick blood or excrements. This disease is prevalent in the spring or summer when ticks are active.
Rickettsia rickettsii can infect humans through the respiratory tract. Artificially spreading this disease is chiefly done through spraying aerosols containing the Rickettsia, and humans fall sick after breathing in the Rickettsia-containing aerosols.”
The original Chinese text is shown below:
The PLA officer in charge of research on tick-borne pathogens is Colonel Cao Wuchun, who has done research to find novel tick-borne pathogens. In a letter published on the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, his research team describes identifying a human infection case of an emerging pathogen called Rickettsia sibirica subspecies BJ-90. Compared to other strains of R. sibirica, subspecies BJ-90 is much more virulent and causes severe illness with multiorgan dysfunction.  In addition, Cao Wuchun’s team also identifies human infection cases of Rickettsia tarasevichiae, another novel strain of Rickettsia that causes severe illness.  Isolating and identifying novel strains of Rickettsia with high virulence can enhance the PLA’s biowarfare capability.
In addition to Rickettsia bacteria, vector-borne viruses can also lead to severe infections. Some people may complacently believe they can avoid vector-borne viruses by spraying pesticides around their houses. Whereas this is an effective method to prevent natural epidemics, it is useless against deliberate bioweapon attacks, because vector-borne viruses can enter and infect the respiratory tract through artificially created aerosols. A chart illustrates the projected area of destruction by aerosols of various biowarfare agents in page 11 of General Yang Ruifu’s biowarfare textbook. For example, Rift Valley Fever Virus is usually transmissible by mosquito bites, yet artificial aerosols can also spread the disease. The same principle applies to tick-borne encephalitis. 
Translation of chart 3-2 in page 11 of Yang Ruifu’s biowarfare book. Projected destructive power of aerosols of various pathogens.
1. Yang, Ruifu. “Medical Science on Defense against Biohazard.” Military Medical Science Press. (2008). (book written in Chinese) ISBN: 978-7-80245-060-8
2. Jia, N., and et al. “Rickettsia sibirica Subspecies sibirica BJ-90 as a Cause of Human Disease.” The New England Journal of Medicine. 369; 12: 1176-1178. September 19, 2013 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1303625
3. Jia, N., and et al. “Human Infection with Candidatus Rickettsia tarasevichiae.” The New England Journal of Medicine. 369; 12: 1178-1180. September 19, 2013 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1303004
（This article merely reflects the author’s personal opinions)