What is swine flu?
Swine flu or H1N1 was originally discovered in Mexico in March of this year. The swine flu virus is made up of genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia plus bird (avian) genes plus human genes. Scientists call this a "quadruple reassortant" virus.
Is swine flu dangerous?
According to the World Health Organization, "the overwhelming majority (99.99 per cent) of persons worldwide infected with the new H1N1 virus continue to experience uncomplicated influenza-like illness, with full recovery within a week, even without medical treatment." The H1N1 virus is causing a very mild illness with fewer hospitalizations, fewer cases of pneumonia and fewer deaths for all ages and groups than seasonal flu or years past.
There is a low communicability of swine flu. When one member of the family contracts swine flu, there is only a 10 per cent likelihood that others in the family will get it.
According to Dr. Jefferson, an expert epidemiologist, the H1N1 virus is no different from any other seasonal virus. In fact, based on what we have seen to date, it’s going to be milder than the regular flu and can be handled with basic public health measures such as hand washing and proper hygeine.
What is this pandemic?
Until very recently, according to the CDC definition, pandemic diseases incur massive worldwide deaths. Recently, the CDC, to the delight of pharmaceutical companies, removed this criterion of death from their definition. Now a pandemic can be any disease that may affect many people, such as a seasonal flu.
Due to the cost and difficulty of testing, only the most severely ill patients are truly assessed for swine flu. The CDC recommends testing for swine flu only for those who are admitted to a hospital or who might have died from it. Despite this, the CDC with their new definitions for swine flu identification (or lack of identification) is stating that nearly all cases of influenza in the US are due to H1N1. When CBS examined the data in all 50 states they found that only 1-2 percent of flu like ailments were due to swine flu.
A virus has two genes that need to be activated to cause a devastating pandemic: the gene for infectivity and the gene for virulence. The gene for virulence has not turned on, and because of this, many scientists believe that H1N1 does not pose a significant threat to the general population.
By October of this year, there were 5,700 deaths worldwide due to H1N1. In a typical year there are 36,000 deaths as a result of seasonal flu in the U.S. alone.
“We think we have the flu anytime we fall ill with an ailment that brings on headache, malaise, fever, coughing, sneezing, and that achy feeling as if we’ve been sleeping on a bed of rocks, but researchers have found that at most half, and perhaps as few as 7 or 8 percent, of such cases are actually caused by an influenza virus in any given year. More than 200 known viruses and other pathogens can cause the suite of symptoms known as “influenza-like illness”. And depending on the season, in up to two-thirds of the cases of flu-like illness, no cause at all can be found.”
[the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1 ]
Are healthy people getting sick?
It is my view that healthy people don’t get sick, and if they do, it is rarely of a severe nature. A look at the so called ‘healthy’ young people who are getting sick from H1N1 reveals that there are many extenuating health issues that increase susceptibility including obesity, underlying lung conditions, diabetes, asthma and in some parts of the world inadequate access to health care. A report in the Oct. 12th issue of Journal of American Medical Association, revealed that 98 percent of hospitalized patients with swine flu had other ailments, and 30 percent of them were of a severe nature.
I believe there are additional concerns with these ‘healthy’ individuals which may include sedentary lifestyle, the Standard American Diet, suppression of childhood illnesses or influenza due to vaccinations, suppression of fever with Tylenol, and disturbance of healthy gut flora with antibiotics. All of these factors can impair the immune system’s ability to fend off a viral assault.
Is the vaccine safe?
According to Dr. Thad Jacobs “What we are discussing here is – is the risk from this virus significant enough to justify draconian measures by the government and medical community? Should we implement mass vaccinations with a vaccine that is essentially an experimental vaccine, poorly tested and of questionable benefit?”
Of the three H1N1 vaccines in the U.S., some contain thimerosal (mercury) and some do not. The live attenuated H1N1 does not contain thimerosal, nor does the single dose product. The multi dose vial products all contain thimerosal, and in Canada the only vaccine available is the multidose one. Swine flu vaccines contain formaldehyde, and exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to increase risk of certain cancers. H1N1 swine flu vaccines have not been evaluated for their ability to cause cancer, damage genes or impair fertility and it is not known whether H1N1 swine flu vaccines can harm the fetus if given to a pregnant women. One H1N1 swine flu vaccine manufacturer product insert states that immune response and safety was only evaluated “in 31 children between the ages of 6-26 months.”
The main groups targeted by the vaccine manufactures are the most likely to have side effects. These groups include pregnant women, children over the age of six months with chronic health conditions, and adults with chronic health conditions. According to a vaccine manufacturers package insert, potential side effects include life-threatening and debilitating conditions such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, vasculitis, paralysis, anaphylactic shock and death.
There is a pending study in Canada, yet to be published, that has found that getting the seasonal flu vaccine doubles one’s risk of developing the H1N1 infections and that it would be more serious than for those who did not receive the seasonal flu vaccine.
“We are being told that this fast tracked, poorly tested vaccine is safe and effective, however, the evaluation period for safety and complications following H1N1 inoculation lasted for only 7 days…. Gullian Barre paralysis, seizures, behavioral problems and neurodevelopmental disorders may not show up until months after a childhood vaccination. It is interesting to note that the authors of the safety study for the swine flu vaccine were all employees of the maker of the vaccine at CSL Biotherapeutics and eight held equity interest in the company.” (Dr. Mercola and the New England Journal of Medicine)
In Canada, manufactures of the H1N1 vaccine have been granted immunity from lawsuits. It is the same in the U.S. as long as there is a public health emergency in effect. The government, not the pharmaceutical companies, will pick up the tab for side-effect costs.
Is the vaccine effective?
Since very few people are actually tested for H1N1 it is hard to know if the vaccine is helping or not. At this point, all we can do is look at the track record for other influenza virus. An expert in this area is Dr. Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Collaborative. He has found the efficacy of seasonal flu vaccinations to be somewhere between very slight to nonexistent depending on the population. Since the H1N1 vaccine is prepared in a similar fashion to the influenza vaccinations, perhaps we can expect similar results.
Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of influenza vaccination during pregnancy. Regarding the elderly, according to Dr. Jefferson, there is no evidence that flu vaccines reduce the incidence, complications or deaths due to influenza. Regarding children, in one of the largest studies ever done, it was found that children below the age of 2 years received no protection at all from the seasonal flu vaccine. Recent studies regarding H1N1 indicate that 75 percent of small children below age 35 months received no protection from the H1N1 vaccine and that 65 percent of children between the ages of 3 years and 9 years received no protection from the vaccine.
Despite the increasing number of people who get influenza vaccines each year, the rate of deaths due to the flu has remained steady over the last 20 years. One would expect the death rate to decline if the vaccines were effective.
According to Lisa Jackson, a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research Center in Seattle, “Influenza causes only a small minority of all deaths in the U.S., even among senior citizens, and even after adding in the deaths to which flu might have contributed indirectly. Outside of flu season, the baseline risk of death among people who did not get vaccinated was approximately 60 percent higher than among those who did, lending support to the hypothesis that on average, healthy people chose to get the vaccine, while the “frail elderly” didn’t or couldn’t. In fact, the healthy-user effect explained the entire benefit that other researchers were attributing to flu vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all.”(see Atlantic reference above)
Are there safer alternatives?
Yes, there are safe alternatives. Please see my newsletter on Flu. I have one addition to add to my Flu protocol, and that is Vitamin D3. Studies to date indicate that Vitamin D3 is protective against swine flu. My suggested dose is at least 2,000 IU daily for children and at least 3,000 IU daily for adults.
What is really going on?
Early on, before H1N1 was declared a level 6 pandemic by WHO, a group of “scientists” was sounding the alarm that this might indeed be the terrifying, deadly pandemic they had been expecting for over half a century. At the same time vaccine manufacturers were doing all they could to fuel this fear while quietly making deals with WHO to be among the companies selected to manufacture the “pandemic” vaccine for the world. Being selected by WHO would guarantee tens of billions in profits.
While the CDC does not make money from vaccines, there is a clear relationship with the CDC and pharmaceutical companies. A sort of revolving door policy, where someone who works for the CDC, FDA, or USDA has a ready ‘in’ with the pharmaceutical companies and vice versa, making public health a low priority. This mentality is reflected with the current health care reform which is not about prevention or healthy treatments, but about getting more money into the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers.
While the CDC lacks funding for health care issues affecting the poor, they seem to be well funded to create a panic over the flu. For more on this please see the above referenced issue of Atlantic that addresses the lack of scientific support for vaccines and how they may be building stronger viruses, just as overuse of antibiotics creates stronger bacteria.
Whether to inoculate or not is each individual’s personal decision. I find that, given the information reviewed in this month’s newsletter, flu vaccination of any type is questionable at best. I hope this month’s newsletter has been of help and welcome questions and comments.
Jon Dunn, ND