- Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 19:33
- Written by Judd Handler
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The following is a sidebar from a much longer article on influenza vaccines, published in Price Pottenger's Nutrition Foundation's quarterly Journal of Health and Healing. To receive the journal and become a member, click here.
Other factors that may have caused global pandemics
There are other factors besides influenza viruses that may be culpable for the deaths of millions during the last few significant influenza pandemics. Perhaps the most notorious of these pandemics occurred in 1918, as the first World War was coming to an end. Commonly known as the “Spanish flu,” this major outbreak resulted in the deaths of between 30 and 100 million people.
Sherri Tenpenny, DO, writes in her book Fowl! Bird Flu: It’s Not What You Think, “The highest mortality rate occurred among those who developed a rapidly progressing pneumonia. Because penicillin was not discovered until 1928, many deaths were most likely due to secondary bacterial infections and could have been preventable today.” Even the use of intravenous therapy was rare in the early twentieth century. During that time, the rudimentary care provided included aspirin, oxygen, and, mostly, rest, she explains.
Tenpenny also suggests that malnutrition played a role in the 1918 epidemic. During wartime, limited rations and an absence of clean water led to a global immuno-compromised population. She quotes Anthony Fauci, ND, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, who in 1985 stated, “Malnutrition was the most prevalent cause of immune deficiency diseases throughout the world in humans and undoubtedly played a hefty role in the large number of deaths during the 1918 pandemic.”
The Vietnam War was a probable factor during the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-1969. The World Health Organization attributed the outbreak in the U.S. to the return of American troops to California from Southeast Asia. Many of us can imagine how poor hygiene, emotional stress, pre-deployment vaccines, and chemical exposures could have contributed to the weakening of immune systems and the subsequent outbreak of influenza.
The underlying health conditions of those who died in these and other pandemics were largely unknown. Underlying and secondary factors such as bacterial infections or congestive heart failure could have been the prime culprits; there is no definitive proof that the deaths were caused by influenza viruses.
Many voices in the mainstream medical community praise vaccinations of all kinds for exponentially reducing mortality rates. But Lawrence Palevsky, MD, in the documentary The Greater Good, says that vaccinations, in general, do not account for the impressive declines in mortality seen in the first half of the twentieth century.
Citing an article in the journal Pediatrics, he discusses child mortality rates in the U.S. between 1900 and 1998. The death rates from certain diseases were declining significantly before their corresponding vaccines were developed. The DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) vaccine was introduced in 1949, but Palevsky states those diseases were already on their way out, and rates of measles were declining before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.
Palevsky credits governments on all levels for facilitating the decline of highly contagious diseases by promoting hygienic consciousness.
Could it be that frequent hand washing and proper sanitation played a bigger role than vaccines in preventing disease?