Brief History of Disease – How We Conquered Infectious Disease

Brief History of Disease – How We Conquered Infectious Disease

Medicine can be broadly categorized into two distinct groups; trauma and health. Western medicine is a product of wartime innovation designed to get soldiers back on the field as soon as possible. When it comes to trauma medicine, Western medicine is the undisputed champion. Health, on the other hand, is where Western medicine falls flat. Chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, and obesity-related diseases, have continued their unprecedented explosion decade after decade with few medical interventions able to make any appreciable dent in their rise.

The 20th Century saw the greatest improvement in life expectancy in human history. Trauma played very little role in the low life expectancy of previous centuries, infectious disease being the greatest killer by a huge margin. The prevailing dogma is that we owe this elimination of infectious disease, and the subsequent rise in life expectancy, to the advancements of western medicine but is that the case?

“In general, medical measures (both chemotherapeutic and prophylactic) appear to have contributed little to the overall decline in mortality in the United States since about 1900 – having in many instances been introduced several decades after a marked decline had already set in and having no detectable influence in most instances.. it is estimated that at most 3.5 percent of the total decline in mortality since 1900 could be ascribed to medical measures introduced for the disease considered here (influenza, pneumonia, diptheria, whooping cough, and poliomyelitis).”

Abject Poverty

Previous centuries were characterized by abject poverty, child and sweatshop labour, malnutrition, cramped living quarters, and a complete lack of the basics of civilization that we take for granted. Most people lived in dilapidated tenements, often filled over capacity, infested with rodents, critters and with no running water. Everyone, including women and children, worked 12, 14, or even 18 hour days in dangerous jobs ranging from mines to manufacturing.

What little food was available was often contaminated, rotten, or diseased causing widespread illness among the population. Basic advances like pasteurization, safe food handling, refrigeration, electricity, and clean running water did not go into widespread use until the early 20th Century.

Breeding Grounds for Infectious Disease

“It is not strange that health improves when the population gives up
using diluted sewage as the principle beverage.”
Dr. Thurman Rice, 1932

Without sewage systems, water treatment, or adequate waste disposal systems city streets filled with sewage, dead animals, and human waste. Malnutrition, and overcrowding combined with this environment of filth to create breeding grounds for every type of infectious disease. Cholera epidemics, caused entirely by contaminated water pumps occurred regularly.

To solve the repeated cycles of epidemics cities across the west embarked on ambitious sanitation projects beginning towards the end of the 19th century and accelerating into the 20th century. Sewage drainage, water filtration systems, plumbing of clean water, and waste disposal radically transformed what had previously been breeding grounds for infectious disease into livable cities.

Eliminating Infectious Disease

All across the West, simultaneously, advancements in sanitation, hygiene and our understanding of nutrition decreased the rate of epidemics and their lethality. Further advancements like pasteurization, electricity, transportation, refrigeration, food inspection, water filtration, indoor plumbing, and a variety of other non-medical advances systematically reduced infectious disease everywhere that they rolled out.

The first real medical intervention for infectious diseases occurred with the invention of the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1944. By then, infectious diseases had declined by more than 90% as a result of the myriad advances that had taken place on a civilizational level.

Today, everywhere on Earth that does not yet have these fundamental building blocks of human health, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition, still suffer from epidemics of infectious disease just as the first world did in previous centuries. Human health is not achieved through medical interventions, but rather environmental interventions as has been thoroughly demonstrated and documented with the advance of western civilization.

This is an excerpt from a longer article covering the History of Disease at InformedConsent.Ca – Read More


Iowa Bill Requires Infant Death Certificates to Include Vaccine Information

Iowa Bill Requires Infant Death Certificates to Include Vaccine Information

A bill is working its way through the Iowa legislature that would require medical examiners to include information on the medical examiners form used to fill out the death certificate about recent vaccinations given to any child under age three who dies of any cause. The bill, SF 2302, passed the Iowa Senate’s Human Resources committee on February 18 by a 8-5 party-line vote with Republicans voting in favor and will proceed to the full Senate for approval within the upcoming weeks.1

Bill’s Sponsor:  “It’s Only About Facts”

Sen. Dennis Guth, the bill’s sponsor, was approached by a medical examiner who said that the death certificate for a child three years old and younger included eight questions about the last thing the child ate, and only one question about vaccination, which was whether the child was up-to-date on recommended vaccines at the time of death. The medical examiner felt it would be important to know a little more about the vaccination history of a child who died. “I thought it was a reasonable idea, and it’s something that’s not pro or anti vaccination, it’s only about understanding what’s going on. It’s only about facts.” Iowa has about 40 sudden unexplained infant deaths each year.2

Health and Medical Groups Oppose Disclosure

In the Senate subcommittee meeting, the bill was met with opposition from public health officials and Iowa’s medical trade associations. Amy McCoy, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, stated they are “undecided” on the matter but cited concerns about accessing vaccination records due to HIPPA, the federal law protecting patient privacy.

Dennis Tibben, representing the Iowa Medical Society and the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated their concern was the potential to slow down child death investigations. “We have several county medical examiners amongst our membership who have voiced concerns about the practical implications of accessing medical records.”

Lina Tucker Reinders of Iowa Public Health Association spoke against the bill.:

We owe it to our children to maintain Iowa’s strong culture of vaccinations. We are concerned that the package of vaccine-related bills that have been introduced this session will not together increase Iowa’s vaccination rates or serve to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases, to the contrary. We’re concerned that they will introduce doubt to parents who have well-placed trust in their medical providers and the public health community.

Deborah Thompson, a volunteer with the Iowa Public Health Association was worried about what would be done with the information collected. “We put this information on, and then what? Which set of researchers pick it up and then what happens to it then? How is it used to wield in defense or for a particular set of arguments?”

Section 164.512(g)(1) of HIPPA law allows for disclosure of medical records to be shared with “medical examiners or coroners to assist them in identifying the decedent, determining the cause of death, or to carry out their other authorized duties.”3 Deputy state medical examiner Jonathan Thompson, MD, said collecting the information would add only an hour of extra work.

The Department of Public Health already has a child death review team, which investigates any death of someone under 18 that is not a natural death. This review includes past medical history and sometimes includes vaccination history. While information on death certificates are publicly available, the vaccination information would only appear on the medical examiner’s form, not the death certificate, and, would not be made public.

Parents Support Collecting Information After Children Die

Brei Johnson, president of Informed Choice Iowa, argued in support of SF 2302. “Everybody should work really hard to unturn every stone to get those parents the answers that they deserve, whether it’s a police officer, whether it’s a medical professional, whoever,” she said. “

We should be getting those parents the answers they deserve. To turn over every single rock—but not to leave this one turned over—I start asking a lot of questions why. Why wouldn’t we turn that rock over and give those parents that answer and be able to check that box without clear thought or without a doubt that no, your baby did not die from that vaccine? Or, maybe, start looking and creating statistics here in Iowa that might show it is.

Shanda Burke, a concerned citizen and certified medical assistant said, “If you want people and patients and parents to be sure of their choices, have the study. Show the information. This is gathering information. I don’t see why that would lead to vaccination hesitancy. We shouldn’t be placing vaccination rate above a good policy. This is a good policy to gather information to determine whether or not there is a correlation, and if there is not, we’ll accept that.  If there is, we need to figure out what to do.”

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