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The Prevention of Epidemics

CHAPTER XXXIX

   An epidemic is mass sickness. In all epidemics, the so-called epidemic disease is but one among several symptom complexes presented by the sick. For example, in the 1918-19 influenza-pneumonia pandemic, there were great numbers of cases of mumps, of measles, of typhoid fever, of sleeping sickness and more cases of colds than influenza. Epidemics are due to mass prostrating influences, commonly of an environmental character. The first cold spell of winter may precipitate an epidemic of colds. The overeating of winter may also precipitate an epidemic of colds. The overeating of Thanksgiving and Christmas is invariably followed by a great increase in illness in all elements of the population. Mass want (as in famines), mass fear and insecurity (as in war), mass overwork (as in national emergencies), may result in increased illness. Prolonged heat, prolonged cold, prolonged dry weather, prolonged rainy weather and similar meteorological stresses are sufficient to further prostrate the already greatly enervated and toxemic and result in mass illness. Whether we have an epidemic of influenza, of poliomyelitis, of smallpox, or of measles, seems to depend more upon psychology than any other factor. The profession singles out one single so-called disease from among all of those present and declares it to be epidemic. The other diseases miss the headlines, even though they may be more prevalent.

   In all epidemics, the enervated and toxemic are the first to develop the epidemic disease. When these have all developed the disease and either died or recovered, the epidemic ends and the profession knows no more about why it ended than why it originated.

   Nothing in man's environment causes disease except as it reduces nerve energy, thus producing enervation, checking elimination and building toxemia. The retained end products of carbohydrate and protein decomposition in the intestines are also prolific sources of poisoning. When the blood becomes super-saturated with cell waste, a safety valve must be opened to relieve it of pent-up toxin. This safety valve is called disease.

   When the medical profession is confronted with the term toxemia, it has visions or nightmares of germ infection, or its corollaries--focal infections of the teeth, tonsils, sinuses, gall bladder, appendix, ovaries or pent-up pus somewhere in the body.

   The modern substitute for the evil spirit theory of disease is the evil germ theory. Instead of having the body invaded by demons, today it is invaded by germs. When Pasteur gave the profession the germ theory, it was still wearing the three-cornered panties that Hippocrates had placed on it almost 2,500 years previous. The profession accepted Pasteur's theory with avidity and today explains, not only epidemics, but many non-epidemic diseases by recourse to this theory. Historically, bacteriology sprang from the limbo of obsession and exorcism and to this limbo it should again be relegated. Indeed, were it not for the fact that vast and exceedingly powerful industries are founded upon the hypothesis that germs are the causes of disease, the whole science of bacteriology, as this relates to disease, would be discarded tomorrow. The owners of these industries will not stand idly by and watch, without moving heaven and earth to prevent the destruction of their highly lucrative source of income.

   If we assume, with the medical men, that germs cause disease, and observe a dog licking his wound with a dirty tongue, we naturally wonder how the wound ever heals. This licking process often follows closely upon the heels of a meal of decaying flesh. The tongue must be teeming with bacteria, yet no infection occurs. This may be interpreted in one of five ways:

  1. It may be assumed that bacteria are not the cause of infection.
  2. It may be assumed that the dog is naturally immune.
  3. It may be assumed that, so long as the wound does not become pent-up (this is to say, so long as drainage is perfect), no infection can occur.
  4. It may be assumed that the bacteria that cause the decay, of the flesh do not cause infection in living tissues.
  5. It may be assumed that a combination of all three of the first assumptions may be involved in the phenomena observed. Which of these interpretations shall we, as Hygienists, accept, even if only tentatively?

   If, in the long run, it should be established that germs and viruses (the virus is at present described as a sub-microscopic germ--the original meaning of the word virus in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, French and English is poison) play a secondary role as causal factor elements in disease, it is not possible to escape the fact that they are as powerless as a feather in a whirlwind in a healthy body. The primary cause of disease remains, as Hygienists have insisted from the beginning, violations of the laws of life.

   Medical men talk of "tracking diseases to their source," as though they have a local habitat in which they breed and from which they sally forth to invade the surrounding territory. They refuse to recognize that the basic causes of disease he within the organism of the sick person himself. Likewise, they refuse to recognize that the chief cause of the mortality in endemic and epidemic diseases is medical treatment. In all epidemics, as the curing becomes more heroic, the death rate increases. As Trall said: "There never was an epidemic since the world was made, in which allopathic drugging did not make a bad matter worse. The usual remedies resorted to are bleeding, blistering, calomel, antimony and quinine. A worse medley of manslaughterous missiles can hardly be contrived." The simple history of all the severe endemic and epidemic diseases which the world has ever known has been that the more drugs were used the higher was the death rate.

   Prof. Eli Metchnikoff once wrote: "Parasites strike with great intensity, bringing about the destruction of numerous animals and plants. Nevertheless, in spite of the disappearance of a large number of species, the world continues to be well populated. This fact proves that, by the special means at the disposal of the organism, without any aid of the medical art or human intervention, many living specimens have held their own throughout the ages." It is important that we understand that these plant and animal organisms have survived in the absence of any assistance from man or the medical profession; that they have survived by reason of means at their own disposal. We should understand that the means of survival are integers of life; that they are intrinsic to the living organism and that they depend, not upon some exotic and adventitious means that are to be found only after long periods of research, but upon the common and easily accessible means of life.

   In Rubies in the Sand the author has shown that the normal way of life was from the beginning and that man's survival depends upon the adequacy with which the basic needs of life are supplied to his organism. Hygiene is the normal way of life and each animal has its own normal mode of existence which preserves it in existence so long as it adheres to this. Hygiene is not something that belongs to man alone, nor is it something that man has discovered. It is coeval and coexistent with life. It belongs to life as specific gravity belongs to the elements.

   If we grant to Metchnikoff the truth of his premise, that extinct species have been killed off by parasites, we are faced with the need to determine why some species succumb to the attacks of parasites while others proved highly resistant to them. Few animals are free of parasites; yet, in some instances they are relatively harmless. We suggest that the real cause of the disappearance of species is the cause that renders them susceptible to parasitic attack, or in other words, the cause that reduces their fitness to live. Fat organisms, giant organisms, acromegalic forms, parasitic organisms, predatory organisms, beasts of prey--insectivores, carnivores, cannibals, etc., etc.,--plant assassins and the like have passed from the scene in great numbers, while normally constituted organisms and those that continue to live non-predaciously have survived. Even many predacious animals have retained a great measure of their original ability to protect themselves.

   In thinking of the survival for great stretches of time of great numbers of species of plants and animals, let us not overlook the survival, through vast periods, of the human species. Compared to the great length of time that man has been on the earth, the "medical art" is but a fledgling. Man, like the animals, survived for a long period of time when there was no "medical art," by reason of the fact that he is also possessed of great powers of resistance and self-repair.

   It is assumed by the medical profession that in epidemics the so-called epidemic disease spreads by infection or contagion. By one means or another the disease is transmitted from patient to patient. This assumption, while apparently borne out by experience, fails to account for the origin of the disease. How does the disease spread from patient to patient until it has come into existence? This question may seem like the old one of which came first--the hen or the egg; but it is a question the correct answer to which would be of great practical importance.

   For the sake of having somebody to begin with, let us start with the Biblical Adam and Eve and work down from there. Did the first man have smallpox; did he have bubonic plague; did he have cholera; did he have gonorrhea; did he have syphilis; did he have measles or chicken pox? If not, how many generations of men lived and died before the birth of the first individual who developed one of these supposed infectious or contagious diseases? Where did he "catch it?" With what prior case did he come in contact? Where did the first man to have smallpox come in contact with the disease, that he acquired the infection? With what first case of yellow fever did the mosquito come in contact, that he could convey the disease to another man? How did the first case of gonorrhea develop?

   When we ask these questions, it becomes self-evident that the first case of every so-called infectious or contagious disease had to arise without contact with a prior case. If we think on this fact a little, it becomes equally evident that if one case can so arise, millions of cases can arise in the same manner in which the first case arose. Then we are faced with the question: in every epidemic, how many cases arise as did the first case and how many cases arise from contact with another case?

   Discussing poliomyelitis, Cecil's Textbook of Medicine, fifth edition, p. 77, says: "The paradox of the isolated case remote from civilization, on the one hand, and on the other the epidemic force which offers a picture of mass group infection is well known but unexplained." Isolated cases of all so-called infectious diseases are well known; the phenomenon is not confined to poliomyelitis. If we but stop and think a minute, we will understand that the first case of every so-called epidemic disease that ever developed was, even though the patient was among friends, an isolated case. It could not, in the very nature of things, have been the result of "infection" by a prior case. Is it not possible that every case of every so-called infectious or contagious disease develops in precisely the same way that the first case develops?

   If we have cases that develop de novo and cases which arise from transmission, how do we differentiate between these two classes of disease? If it can be shown that one case developed after contact with another case, is this enough to demonstrate that the second case arose out of the contact and did not arise de novo? If disease can arise in both ways, it is quite evident that to avoid epidemics we must avoid the de novo evolution of the first case and it is precisely here that Hygiene is of greatest value.

   What is the reason, if contact with a case of infectious or contagious disease accounts for its spread, that all who contact the case or cases do not develop the disease. It is not enough to reply that these fortunate individuals are immune unless it can be explained what is meant by immunity and the reasons for the immunity are given. Immunity is a mere word and as it is at present used, covers a world of ignorance. We want a rational explanation. If germs are ubiquitous and are capable of infecting man, why are not all infected? Why is contact with a case of disease ever essential to infection? If the germs are everywhere, why can they not produce infection without the intermediary of a prior case? If the prior case is essential, how did the first case arise?

   What is the essential difference between what is called immunity and health. Does immunity rest upon the same factors of existence that health rests upon? If we build and maintain a high state of health, are we immune? Or is immunity a pathological state, arising out of infection, as is now the general view of the medical profession and its rulers in the bacteriological field. Do we become immune by first becoming sick? Is sickness the route to immunity?

   It is the condition of the individual and not the so-called contagion that determines the character of a disease. If the contagion determines the character of the disease, each person in the community, certainly each one in a family, would have it with equal certainty. As a matter of fact, the same disease may be malignant in one case and benignant in another, the difference being determined, not by the contagion, but by the patient's vital states. In the same family the so-called contagious disease may differ in the different individuals, whether the disease is smallpox, diptheria, scarlatina or measles.

   The following classifications of some of the more common so-called contagious or infectious diseases have been made by medical classifiers.

Small Pox: discrete, confluent, or malignant

Diptheria: benignant; malignant

Scarlatina: simplex, anginose, or malignant

Measles: benignant or common; malignant or black

   The condition of one's blood or of the system generally explains also most of the dangers arising from bites of venomous snakes, insects or animals. Pure blood and abundant vitality are the correct protective agencies of the life of any man.

   Developing and dying of so-called infectious or contagious disease is not accidental; it is not an irregular phenomenon. This is to say, such developments are not out of the regular order of nature. A self-controlled individual possesses sufficient capacity to adjust himself to the extremes of human habitat and enjoy the pleasures of life within his limitations. Those who habitually overstep their limitations break down the powers of life and build disease. Everyone who suffers with disease and dies prematurely has himself to blame.

   Let us consider malaria, a disease that has long been known and for which a sure preventive and a sure cure has long been in the possession of the medical profession. It is asserted by the medical profession that quinine both prevents and cures malaria. Quinine, a protoplasmic poison, was introduced to the profession by Catholic priests who invented a romantic story about its use by South American Indians and about its saving the life of a Spanish princess. The profession long opposed what they called Jesuit bark before finally accepting it. Untold thousands of nervous systems have been wrecked by quinine; deafness and blindness have been caused by it and no case of malaria was ever cured by it--yet this protoplasmic poison is still in good repute with the profession. It has devised substitutes for quinine, but these have not proved to be any more successful in preventing and curing malaria than the quinine itself.

   Physicians who believe that quinine prevents and cures malaria should have had their faith shattered by the Civil War experience with this poison. Although Federal soldiers were liberally dosed with quinine to prevent malaria, many thousands of them developed the disease. The quinine dosage was increased as a means of cure, but it failed. Any remaining vestige of the old faith in the saving potency of quinine certainly should have been shattered by its failure both to prevent and cure the disease in our soldiers in the South Pacific in World War II. Our soldiers on the Bataan Peninsula suffered more fatalities from malaria and from the treatment for malaria than from the bullets, bombs and bayonets of the Japanese.

   The people who develop malaria in the so-called malarial regions (it should be understood that thousands of people live their entire lives in these regions and never have malaria) are those who habitually carry a cesspool under their diaphrams. Normal people or nearly normal people, who are self-controlled and not sensualists, do not have malaria, even when working in marshy lands. Alcoholism and food excess kill many in every climate and under all circumstances of life. It is obvious that something has been left out of the theory of cause and this something is not explained by calling it natural immunity.

   In all cases of malaria there is gastro-intestinal indigestion and as soon as this is corrected, by correcting its causes, the malarial subject gets well and remains well so long as he does not re-establish his digestive impairment. When malaria patients can be induced to give up their wrong habits of living and their habit of taking drugs, they are through with malaria forever. If the malaria patient returns to his enervating habits and again checks excretion of metabolic waste, he will again become toxemic, his digestion will again be impaired and he will again develop malaria.

   In his New Biology, M. L. Johnson, Ph.D., says: "Where social conditions have been improved, malaria has gradually receded before any special measures have been taken to conquer it, as in England and in many parts of the United States." What this means is that improved social conditions have been followed by a gradual decline in the incidence of malaria, as of other so-called epidemic diseases, before medical measures were taken to prevent it. What better evidence is needed that advancing civilization, and not medical advances, is the real factor in the elimination of disease? Better housing, better plumbing, better clothing, shorter working hours, cleaner cities, better food, etc., and not vaccines and serums and oiling frog ponds, have resulted in the passing of certain diseases.

   It is often asserted that certain infectious diseases have changed character and have lost virulence over a long period. This is attributed to changes in the virulence of the causative microbes, and the changes in the modes of living and changes in the environment are completely ignored. Any decline in virulence of a disease must be due to either or both of two major causes: namely, to a change for the better in the mode of living or to a less lethal form of treatment. If the incidence of a disease decreases, this is due to changed environment and mode of living and not to an acquired immunity. Lowered incidence is commonly accompanied by decreased virulence, as a consequence of these same factors. If the old heroic medical treatment was abandoned and diseases lost their virulence as a consequence, this was not the result of any change in the disease, but to a less lethal form of treatment.

   While a close connection is traceable between epidemics and the economic status of a people, medicine never seeks the eradication of a social system that breeds and perpetuates poverty. Rather, it seeks to drug away and cut away the effects of insanitary surroundings, overcrowding, malnutrition, etc., or it seeks to immunize with vaccines the victims of social inequalities and injustices against the consequences of their economic plight.

   The classic preventive vaccine is the smallpox vaccine. Although by no means the first such substance to be used, Jenner's vaccine was the first to be universally employed. Jenner appropriated the work of another man and claimed it as an original discovery. Without adequate testing, he proclaimed that the cowpox vaccine would immunize one against smallpox for life. He presented his material to the British Royal Society, which rejected it on the grounds of lack of proof. Neither Jenner nor any of his successors ever re-presented the claims for this vaccine, together with proofs, to the Royal Society; hence, it has never been approved by the Society.

   England was the first country in the world to adopt compulsory vaccination. After about 40 years of compulsory vaccination, Britain suffered the worst smallpox epidemic in its entire history, with the highest death rate in history. This is but one among thousands of instances of the failure of smallpox vaccination to prevent smallpox, but it should have been enough to convince the most case-hardened advocate of vaccination of the futility of the practice. In addition to being a failure as a preventive, the vaccine produces a whole train of evil side effects and iatrogenic diseases. It is kept alive only because of the enormous profits that are derived from the practice.

 


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