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Plum Island

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Plum Island is the site of the US Government’s Animal Disease Center located at the end of New York’s Long Island. The island is currently controlled by the Department of Homeland Security with

maximum-security provisions and is only accessible by Government approved vessels. The initial purpose of the center was for the protection of America’s livestock from possible disease. During the Cold War though, the facility was used for the development of secret biological weapons. Former Nazi member Erich Traub was the main consultant for the biological weapons research after he was brought to the US through Operation Paperclip. Traub’s expertise was in insects, specifically ticks, since they had the capability of carrying disease through a large population. The US government explored all possibilities of biological weapons during the Cold War; including affecting the Soviets food supply and population with insects injected with lethal pathogens. It is still unclear if the facility still partakes in the biological weapons research but there have been speculations since the Animal Disease Facility continues its’ research in secrecy. The facility on Plum Island was given a bio level 5-facility status since it was located off of the continental United States even though they generally only implement bio level 3 safety procedures for containment of biohazards. It is completely possible that pathogens or infectious diseases could escape from the island and infect animals, or even people, on the interior of the United States. Samples of polio and other diseases that affect humans are stored on the facility so an outbreak would be detrimental. There is a plan to move the facility to the center of cattle country and major agricultural epicenter, Manhattan, Kansas. If an outbreak were to occur there it could be devastating to the food supply and our way of life as we know it.