Immunizations

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by TheOliveBranch, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. TheOliveBranch

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    Is there a biblical reason not to immunize?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Is there a biblical reason TO immunize?

    The damage that it does to the human body and nervous system is monumental. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and it is amazing how I can rationalize what I do with the body (food, chemicals, drugs, et al) that no longer belongs to me.
     
  3. 7-Kids

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    Biblical Reasons not to immunize?!? Well, that's not really difficult, but many people do not agree with the arguments. I will tell you what I have found in my research (which has been pretty extensive). I have gathered this information over the years beginning before the birth of my first child and more intensively since the birth of my last baby who was premature (I wanted to be really sure!)
    Anyway, this is what I found. In several of the various vaccines (including the chicken pox and the measles) they derive the vaccine from "human diploid cell". That is a nice way of saying that they used either aborted babies or, more likely, the discarded embryos from the various fertility treatments. I simply cannot see myself condemning abortion, which I definitely believe is TOTALLY BAD and WICKED, and then innoculating my child with something derived from the process. This is probably my strongest argument. At least I think so.
    The next argument is the one I get a lot of flack about. I believe we should do what is best for our children's health. If you do the research, you will find that all of the vaccines can have serious side effects and none of them are a "sure bet" for preventing disease. Remember the measles outbreaks a few years ago? People blamed unimmunized kids for it. This is silly, because in fact this was not the case, and if it had been, well, why were immunized kids catching it from the unimmunized ones? I thought that was what the vaccine was supposed to prevent. If it does not necessarily do what we think it will, then we need to weigh the risks. Is this vaccine more likely to help my child than harm them. I believe (here comes the scriptural reason) that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe that God knows a whole lot more about how the immune system functions than we do. I also believe that any attempts at trying to trick our God-made system into malfunctioning and creating an immunity artificially will in the long run be detrimental to the health of my children. This is backed up by study after study linking various immune system disorders (like allergies, lupus, etc.) to immunizations. Not that these did not happen before, but if you look at the data, the increase is huge after immunizations began on a large scale. So if I want what is best for my kids, I will let their immune systems develop the way God intended. (I realize many Christian people would vehemently disagree with me here and I respect that---you have to make your own decision for your own kids)
    Finally, let me close with some various other information. All of the statistics can be found on various websites if you do a search on immunizations. One of the most helpful that I found was out of Australia. They just put the Manufacturer's Insert information on the web. These little pieces of paper are in the box that your doctor gets the immunization in but he never reads them and you never see them. They are on the web. They tell you exactly what is in the vaccine, how it was obtained (or cultured), whether it is a live virus or not, dosage information, and also reasons not to give the shot or not to give the follow-up shot. Many parents do not even know this information is available. If your child's doctor wants to give your kid a shot, tell him you want to see the package insert. By law they have to but usually they will not want to. I wonder why that would be?! Some of the shots have mercury in them still. Quite a few have aluminum (which has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease).
    In summary, God made the immune system and I think that messing with that will only cause harm. Also, immunizing is an indirect participation in an industry which I believe God abhors. Finally, it is the parents who need to make this decision for their children. They should have access to all the information and be able to make an informed decision instead of being threatened by a know-it-all government and medical industry who tries to tell us they can take our kids away or keep them out of the public schools if we refuse to toe the line. (Every single state has a medical exemption and a religious exemption). It is and must remain the responsibility and choice of the parents as to whether to immunize their children.
     
  4. donnA

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    In our state if your childs immunizations records are not up to date they can not go to school, day care(if you ever need day care).
     
  5. Sherrie

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    It is in our state too katie. And I find it really odd that a parent would jepordize there childrens health by not getting there shots. I am glad there is a law in our state that says we must, for this very reason. I do not even want my children or grandchildren around a child who hasn't, because of health risk.

    Chicken Pox can cause an older person to get shingles. some die from shingles. There are other diseases that are serious and can lead to death.

    No where in the Bible does it say shots are wrong. But it does show where those that were ill, or diseased were set outside the tribes so as not to inflict it on others. It does show where herbs and spices were used for healing. And also some foods were used for regulating, and energy, croup...etc.

    I also want to point out that the after birth was used also for medicines, and is still today.

    This really sounds like a death warrent for parents to their children, (not getting there shots) and maybe the parent should be investigated.

    Sherrie

    [ December 21, 2002, 02:44 AM: Message edited by: Sherrie ]
     
  6. 7-Kids

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    I feel like I need to respond. Not primarily for myself but for all the many parents out there who agree with me and are afraid to say so ( and there are lots of them!) I want to repeat that EVERY SINGLE STATE has a medical exemption and, by supreme court order, a religious exemption from immunizations. Many also have a "philosophical" exemption. This does not exempt just anyone. It does not exempt people who just do not feel like going to get the shots, for example. It also does not exempt people who do not know they need the shot (some are not aware of which shots are given at which ages, especially if they do not have a regular pediatrician.) It exempts people who have done the research and gone through the necessary process to obtain the exemption.
    For the medical exemption, you must have a doctor's signed notice that states that immunizations are "contraindicated" (in other words, a bad idea) for your child and the medical reason must usually be stated. You might think that this would be a very unusual and difficult thing to do. However, when you first look at the insert of the shot BEFORE you let the doctor stick your kid, you will find a huge variety of reasons given for not giving the shot. They usually include running a fever after the previous shot, having a weakened immune system (they should be healthy when the shot is given), having any kind of brain damage or neurological disorder (my parents had to fight the doctors to get this exemption for my sister who has seizures), and in some cases simply not being at risk for the disease (this is true for the Hep B which is now a required vaccine for ALL school kids in my state. You should be able to get the exemption for this one by simply showing that the child is not at risk.) Many people with religious objections file a medical exemption because they find that the school districts more readily accept this exemption. Furthermore, there is almost always something that is easily proved for the child to be a contraindication, so if you have an honest doctor who has read the inserts (most don't) you can usually get the doctor to sign the note.
    If you cannot get your Dr. to sign the note, but have religious (I prefer to call them Biblical) objections, or if you simply feel that getting a medical exemption because of Biblical objections is somewhat deceitful, there is the religious exemption. Many people believe that in order to take this you must belong to a group that has as a part of its tenets not to immunize. This is usually not true. In most states, you must have "sincerely held religious beliefs" and a notarized piece of paper saying what they are and why. This is not hard to do either, but most people do not know that it is even an option.
    As far as the schools and day care keeping you out? Public schools can not keep you out if you have an exepmtion. Private schools are private and can do what they want about your exemption although most will honor it. Day cares are the same way. Any government run program must accept the exemption. Private organizations are free to do what they want. Most private day cares are very strict on this point.
    Concerning the refusal to immunize being a death warrant for a child, well that is sheer nonsense (no disrespect intended). I think we tend to get very emotional about this because children are involved, but if you get on the web and just research immunizations you would be amazed at what is out there. In many countries in Europe and especially Asia, they do not even begin immunizing until age 2 because of the damage it does to the still developing immune system. Every single case of polio in the US recently has been CAUSED by the vaccine! Children are only at risk for tetanus if they are likely to receive puncture wounds which contain animal germs (like on a farm or from a dog bite). And furthermore the injection is effective AFTER the injury is sustained. Measles, mumps, and chicken pox are not dangerous generally. If you read the insert, your child is more likely to get a deadly case of measles from the shot than from anywhere else. And the measles vaccine was obtained in a way most Christians would object to. The chicken pox vaccine can cause shingles ( I know of several cases where this occurred, people I know personally). Mumps is not even dangerous. The studies done show that the liklihood of a child dying increases drastically after immunizations, particularly after the combined shots. Ever notice that SIDS occurs at the same general age that vaccination. I am NOT saying that it is always caused by vaccines, just that this will increase the risk. There is a whole list of syndromes, diseases, etc. that have skyrocketed since state-mandated vaccination began. Do the research yourself. If you do you will be convinced. If I tell you, you will accuse me of making it up.
    Finally, I want to close here (finally). It concerns me deeply when Christians are desirous of "having parents investigated" by the state for simply doing what they believe is right. Maybe it would be different if a parent was just too lazy to do it, but these are beliefs that are sincerely held for what we (I am not speaking just for myself here) believe are scriptural reasons (which the state would not understand anyway) and based on a significant amount of research diligently and carefully done. We also want to do what is best for our children. We simply disagree about what that BEST is. Is that a good reason to call in the state? And where will that stop? Maybe we should call in the state when we think that a parent does not provide adequate supervision (someone, supposedly a Christian, called CPS on me because I let my kids climb trees and ride their bikes in the road). I think what we need here is some Christian love and understanding that maybe what we believe is not what everyone believes. If the tables were turned and the law said we should not immunize, I do not think that we should be turning in you because you want to. It must be left up to the parents. God gave children parents, not a government nanny. I am sorry this post is so long, but that last jab about state investigations really needed a reply.
     
  7. Sherrie

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    I stand by my statement.

    Sherrie
     
  8. 7-Kids

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    I found this from Scranton Times Tribune @

    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=6376525&BRD=2185&PAG=461&dept_id=415898
    =============================================
    When Tara McHale gave birth to her first child, Samantha, she recorded every wonderful moment of her baby's life. The first smile, the first word, the first step, the first hug, the jutting of each tooth, the nuance of each new gesture.

    In every way, Samantha was developmentally on target. At 15 months, she walked and talked and joyfully played.

    Then, during a regular medical checkup, the pediatrician injected four childhood vaccines into Samantha's bloodstream.

    Samantha, of Clarks Summit, has never been the same.

    The next morning, her cognitive skills were dulled. Her physical abilities spun backward.

    When she was 4, she could not be toilet trained. She no longer made eye contact. Her speech shrunk to one- or two-word sentences. She flapped her hands in bizarre gestures.

    All the while, her mother pursued pediatricians, neurologists, audiologists and other professionals to find out what was wrong.

    In 1997, a developmental pediatrician confirmed the diagnosis.

    Autism is a neurological condition that forever alters a child's life.

    "It was a crushing blow," Mrs. McHale said.

    It is a blow most members of Congress know nothing about. So when the federal legislators approved the Homeland Security Act last month, they glossed over a last-minute provision tucked secretly into the bill.

    It granted Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies retroactive protection from lawsuits such as those that say Lilly's vaccines caused or contributed to autism.

    Childhood vaccines have been suspect for many years, but the claims gained more credence when research found dangerously high levels of mercury and the preservative thimerosal in the vaccines.

    One thousand lawsuits were pending against the vaccine makers, but the last-minute addition to the Homeland Security Bill canceled all of them.

    Mrs. McHale, Rita Cheskiewicz, of Dallas, and Frank Scholz, of Mehoopany -- all parents of autistic children -- met Thursday with U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock, to seek his support in overturning the provision.

    They are hurt by the government's seemingly cavalier attitude toward children with autism. They are frustrated by what appear to be cozy relationships between pharmaceutical manufacturers and the White House.

    Mrs. Cheskiewicz, a former administrator at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, gave up her job when her son A.J. was diagnosed with autism.

    He was normal in every way until age 18 months, when he received three vaccines at once. He stopped speaking and stopped responding to his name.

    "As a mother, it is heartbreaking, and it did not have to happen," Mrs. Cheskiewicz said.

    Mr. Scholz, whose son, Joey, was diagnosed as autistic several years ago, drives two hours a day to take his son to an educational program geared to children with autism.

    The children will need lifelong care. The parents want more government resources put into autism research. They want more recognition of autism's devastating effects.

    Mr. Sherwood, visibly moved by the families' plight, said he will try through the Health and Human Services Committee to direct funding for autism through national health institutions.

    He also will recommend overturning the Homeland Security provision, but the prospect of success is not good.

    "There will be some support, and I'll give it a shot when we go back into session in January, but to turn the provision around now will be a major proposition," he said.

    Samantha McHale is 10 now, and despite intensive care, she is wrapped in the limitations of autism.

    She needs help dressing, bathing, toileting. She doesn't understand gender or relationships, time or numbers.

    She does not recognize family names, and when she's in pain, she cannot explain why or where she hurts.

    She does not go to ballet classes or listen to music with friends or take part in other activities most 10-year-old girls enjoy.
     
  9. Lorelei

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    The damage that the disease can do is monumental as well. This argument could be made for either side of the argument. Who am I to NOT protect that temple of the Holy Spirit from vile diseases that can kill and maim them?

    My daughter has Down Syndrome and a heart condition. For many of our children it is life threatening if they get so much as a cold (thankfully my daughter is not this severe). I think it is vitally important to protect them from as many diseases as possible, even the flu.

    If you spend as much time in the hospital as I have this past year, you get a whole new perspective.

    Does the Bible say either way, no I don't believe it does. I think each personal should prayerfully make the decision that best suits thier family. I would not judge either way.

    ~Lorelei
     
  10. Lorelei

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    Sixkids,

    Things like this can happen from a vaccine and parents are given information regarding the risks. You might also do some research and post some articles that show what happened to the person who got the disease they were not immunized from.

    You don't hear about that anymore because these diseases have been practically wiped out thanks to immunizations.

    Go interview someone who remembers living with Polio.

    There are risks either way. A person making a decision should have information from BOTH sides. Weigh the risk of immunization agains the risk of disease, not just against it's own risks.

    If everyone stops getting immunized these diseases could come back to haunt us again.

    ~Lorelei
     
  11. Helen

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    SixKids, I understand your point of view. I really do. There are both positive and negatives where vaccines are concerned. By the way, most biological vaccines are derived from animals, not humans or human tissues. One of the reasons children should not be given eggs the first year of life is so that they will NOT react allergically to several of the vaccines if by chance they happen to have an egg allergy.

    But that aside, there is another point that needs to be made. We are not perfect anymore! Adam and Eve were, but we've been going downhill biologically at a pretty rapid rate ever since. Our immune systems are fairly easily overwhelmed now, by any number of things.

    When I was four, a boy down the street contracted polio and ended up paralyzed and in what was known then as an 'iron lung.' When I was five or six, I was in the first test group of the new polio vaccine (given as drops on sugar cubes then), with my parents' blessings.

    Today polio is virtually unknown.

    Whooping cough, another killer, is almost unknown, too.

    So is smallpox.

    I witnessed a man, in a hospital where I worked when I was 20, fall to the ground in the corridor and gag out his life in a torrent of blood from end stage tuberculosis.

    We do not often come into personal contact, here in America, with the horrors of some kinds of death which affect others in other parts of the world now. We have never seen the cow slaughtered from which our steaks come. I even found myself apologizing to the lobsters I threw into a pot of boiling water for a dinner one night camping at the beach when my kids went lobstering and came back with some beauties! The chickens in our yard die natural deaths because I cannot kill and eat something that has a name!

    It's quite different here in the USA from other places in the world where the death of both humans and animals is a daily occurrence for the man on the street.

    Why? In part because the scientists and doctors have worked like mad to try to control those things which kill so many and leaved maimed and crippled so many more. God has given us the resources to at least slow down these ravages.

    And, that being said, none of them is perfect. My sister, for a number of years, headed the very needed protest group against the enforced innoculation of our servicemen for anthrax. The vaccine can be almost as bad as the disease! That one really does put one between a rock and a hard place. And yes, there are some connections possible between the DPT innoculation and autism.

    On the other hand, how many people have you seen die of 'lockjaw' -- tetanus? It's a horror of a death which is almost nonexistant in the US today due to innoculations.

    So discernment is needed. The occasional parent who chooses not to innoculate is probably not placing the child in much danger except for tetanus, which does not require person-to-person transmission. This is because all the other parents have innoculated THEIR children, though! When enough parents choose not to innoculate, then we are going to see resurgences of deadly diseases in those pockets of people, just as we have seen some resurgences of measles in the past decade among those who chose not to be innoculated.

    There are risks involved in being alive. That is simply a fact. Innoculations carry a risk. Diseases are a risk. And I grant you that a parent must decide, but it is best to decide on the basis of the data rather than emotional arguments.

    As a parent, I opted out of a continuing series of DPT for my retarded son and I have refused the hepatitis for my kids. But now all of them are 18 or older, I have to let them choose what to continue with and what not to.

    As a funny sidelight, we waited for years for my youngest daughter to get chicken pox, and she never did, no matter how many times I tried to make sure she was exposed as a child (after a year old, the younger you are when you have it, the better). Finally the vaccine came out and so we had her tested to see if there were natural immunities or whether she needed to be vaccinated. She was naturally immune! So it still can happen, but best not to count on it.

    It's hard being a parent and making these decisions. The more information one has the better, and with the internet now, any parent with access to a computer can find out tons about any of these things.

    Thanks for bringing it up.
     
  12. GrannyGumbo

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    Thanks for being brave and posting the great info, Sister SixKids. [​IMG] I wish I had known all this years ago...but I'm much wiser today! [​IMG] [Half my family will not immunize their babies, nor will they submit to that smallpox hoax].

    When my baby girl, Farmer's Wife, worked in the public(before waking-up about being a keepersathome), she was the local school's secretary.

    One day in walked a family who did not have "shot records", so Robin couldn't enroll them---until the mother protested/tested it and they found out differently! ;)

    So what everyone thinks is the law, may very well not be! :rolleyes:
     
  13. John3v36

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    Let Me add this to what SIXKIDS had to say.

    I hope it is not to long. It is GREAT READING .

    http://www.mindfully.org/Health/We-Need-Germs.htm

    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
    Why We Need Germs

    Garry Hamilton / The Ecologist Report Jun01
    In the battle to win the war against germs, are we the real losers? Is there such a thing as being too clean?


    n America this past summer, hardly a week seemed to pass by without news from the war on germs. The following stories were among the highlights: a Seattle-based grocery delivery company began advertising the `one touch' tomato; the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to investigate the safety of cultured cheeses; a leading mouthwash maker added to the market's list of more than 700 germ-fighting products with its `oral-care strips' - thumb-sized pieces of antimicrobial tape that users stick to their tongues; and yet another new anti-bacterial shampoo appeared, this one for ridding carpets of the germs left behind by pets.

    Such a barrage, of course, is nothing new. Ever since microbes were identified as the source of infectious diseases, humans have been intensifying efforts to stamp out germs, dreaming of a day when these invisible enemies are no more. The battles that have been won - the defeat of polio, the dramatic decline of infant mortality in the west, the eradication of small pox worldwide - spur the endeavour onward. Recent setbacks such as the threat of new pathogens, the return of old enemies and the development of antibiotic resistance, remind us that we must never let' down our guard. In the war on germs, the wisdom says, there's no such thing as going too far.

    In reality, however, this view of infectious disease is oversimplified. For one thing, it ignores the fact that germs are everywhere. They live in the soil and water and drift on currents of air. They survive without oxygen or in the absence of sunlight. They form dense colonies on virtually any artificial surface. And it is a presence that is by no means trivial. Discoveries of germs living in volcanoes, salt flats, solid granite, 650°F deep sea vents and oil reserves miles below the Earth's surface have led to the calculation that microbes outweigh all other life forms combined.1

    Germs also represent an important component of the human body. From birth to death, we're covered from head to toe by a rich, living carpet that is the product of thousands if not millions of years of coevolution. These germs are thought to protect us from more harmful microbes, and they interact with our own cells in subtle yet important ways which are only now coming to light.

    Finally, our view of disease ignores the fact that our position in this microbial soup is an ever-changing one. A germ that kills one person may not harm another. Another may be benign one day, trouble the next. Those important germs living inside your body? In the wrong place or at the wrong time - they're lethal.

    What all this means is that our sense of germs is highly biased. We see how they make us sick, but not how they keep us healthy. We view infection as synonymous with disease, when it's not - if it were, we'd all be dead. Thus, in fighting a no-holds-barred war on germs, we may be making a big mistake. By trying to sanitise our surroundings, we threaten the very treaties on which our survival depends.

    As the war on germs escalates, some researchers are saying the time has come for a more sophisticated view of germs, one that better reflects our place in the germ-filled world. Some even suggest we've already gone too far. What's needed is not less exposure to microbes, but more. `Is there such a thing as being too clean?' says Stuart Levy; director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University in Boston. `I think there probably is.'

    For most microbiologists, of course, this is heresy. Guided by the light of modern germ theory, they view germs as most of us do - single entities out to wreak havoc on the body. It's a view based on a set of rules first laid down by nineteenth-century German scientist Robert Koch. Known as 'Koch's postulates,' these rules provide the criteria for proving that an organism causes a disease. First, the organism must always be found in a person with the disease. Second, it must be isolated and grown in pure culture. Third, the isolated organism must cause the disease when injected into an animal model. And fourth, the same organism must be isolated from the animals once the disease has occurred.

    Guided by these rules, modern microbiologists are essentially microbe hunters. Their job is to track down the germ associated with a given disease, study its every detail - often down to the last nucleotide sequence - and orchestrate its obliteration, either from the human body or, preferably, from the planet. History shows that such an approach to germ-fighting has not been a total waste of time. But in reality, modern germ theory doesn't do a very good job of explaining infectious disease.

    Consider, for example, Helicobacter pylori. In 1984, this spiral-shaped bacterium was identified as the cause of stomach ulcers2 and subsequent research has shown how it triggers the type of inflammation in human tissue that can lead to not only ulcers, but cancer.3,4,5 Millions have been spent on the development of various treatments, and there is now hope that one day a vaccine will help rid the human population of this organism for good.6

    At the same time, however, there is an expanding body of evidence that suggests the role of H. pylori in disease is not so cut-and-dried. For one thing, the bacterium is far more prevalent than originally thought, occurring in 50 per cent of human stomachs7 - a figure much higher than the rate of ulcers. Thus a large majority of the people who carry the bacterium have no sign of disease. This paradox is even more pronounced in the developing world, where ulcer rates are generally lower and infection with H. pylori is higher - in some cases up to 80 per cent of the population. In areas with little contact with the industrialised world, virtually every inhabitant becomes infected during childhood.8

    The riddle does not appear to be explained by variation in the potency of different strains, and attempts to link disease with specific virulence factors have met with conflicting results.9,10 Nor is it due to the degree of the infection. Indeed, counts of H. pylori in otherwise healthy individuals have been as high as 10 million microbes per gram of gastric fluid.11,12

    Indeed, the more researchers learn about ulcers and H. pylori, the cloudier the picture becomes. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, is now believed to cause ulcers independent of H. pylori infection. But even when these cases are ignored, the link between the bug and the disease seems less direct than as is commonly thought. One recent American study of non-NSAID ulcer patients in Rochester, New York, detected H. pylori infection in 61 per cent of the cases.13 Another survey from Orlando, Florida, found that only 27 per cent of non-NSAID ulcer patients tested positive for the microbe.14 Meanwhile, additional reports of ulcers recurring in patients from whom H. pylori had been eradicated, and of ulcers disappearing from patients still infected, led a team of researchers in Japan to conclude recently that H. pylori may be an innocent bystander in 30 per cent of all non-NSAID ulcer cases.15

    When these ambiguities are taken into consideration - and many H. pylori researchers dismiss them as irrelevant - the ulcer story fails every measure of traditional germ theory. This doesn't rule out a link between the germ and the disease. It does, however, suggest a more complex relationship.

    The ulcer story is not unique. The more one scans the roster of infectious disease, the more one sees similar murkiness in what we like to view as straightforward cause-and-effect relationship. `You have this problem where many are colonised but few have symptoms of disease,' says Abigail Salyers, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana Campaign. `And that's the rule rather than the exception.'

    Is there a better way to view infectious disease? Salyers and others believe there is, and that it will come from a deeper understanding of the relationship between the body and the microbial world - a relationship that probably began back when multicellular organisms first emerged in what was originally a single-celled world. During that momentous period in the history of life, it seems unlikely that such newcomers would have escaped the attention of bacteria and other established life forms. Indeed, these little packets of pure protein would have been prime real estate. At the very least, the presence of microbes in the alimentary tracts of the simplest worms suggests that multi-celled animals have been mobbed by microbes for hundreds of millions of years.

    How did they survive? Our tendency to view life as a collection of discrete individuals has led to the assumption that multicellular organisms adapted, evolving immune systems and other innate defence mechanisms to ward off the microbial onslaught. A less anthropocentric view, however, might be that no life form alive today could survive if it were forced to compete head-to-head with all the microbes it meets. According to this view, the first multicellular organisms would have had no option other than to be a host for colonising microbes. From then on, natural selection would have favoured multicellular organisms whose colonies did not kill them. Indeed, hosts would have gained a competitive advantage if their colonies went so far as to provide them with benefits, either directly in the form of nutrients, or indirectly through protection from the microbes that lay outside this co-evolved union. Thus they became, in effect, extensions of the host itself - as indispensable as a vital organ.

    For evidence of this, one need look no further than the human body itself. It has been estimated that an adult carries 90 trillion microbes, a figure that outnumbers the body's own cells by nearly 10 to one.16 These microbes include hundreds of different microbes, mainly bacteria, but also yeast and other fungi, viruses, protozoa and microscopic worms. They reside in dense multi-species communities in a variety of highly specific niches, from the moist crypts of the tongue to the nutrient-rich darkness of the large intestines to the windswept plains of the skin. And even though they're not officially part of the body, they do a pretty good impression, colonising us soon after birth, responding to our body's biochemical ebbs and flows, passing their progeny on to ours and staying with us till we die.

    Joshua Lederberg, a molecular geneticist and Nobel Laureate at The Rockefeller University in New York, has recently coined the term `microbiome' for this union between a host and its symbionts. `There is a very large packet of other genes that we carry around with us habitually,' says Lederberg. `They're not. transmitted as regularly and as mechanically as the (host's) chromosomes, but that doesn't lessen their importance.'

    A long-standing mystery has been exactly how the body tolerates this relationship. After all, many of the germs inhabiting the body are closely related to known pathogens in the environment, and many trigger an immune response when they inadvertently move from one part of the body to another. Most also produce lipopolysaccharide, a highly potent stimulator of immune cell activity.

    In recent years new tools have enabled molecular biologists to listen in on cellular interactions that are far more subtle than those in which the outcome is disease, interactions such as those between a host and its symbionts. What they are finding is that such cross-species relationships appear to be built on a vast network of chemical communication, with each partner sending out signals that activate the other's genes.

    One person now trying to translate this body-to-bug conversation is Jeff Gordon, a molecular biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Gordon started out studying intestinal development in mice, including how generic cells within an infant's maturing organ differentiate into more highly specialised forms. Like all developmental biologists, Gordon assumed this process was exclusively under the animal's control. Gradually, however, he began to think it also involved input from colonising bacteria.

    One clue came from recent work done on other symbiotic relationships. Researchers have identified dozens of genes involved in cross-talk between the root cells of certain leguminous plants and their resident nitrogen-fixing bacteria. One effect of this is that when the bacteria first colonise the host, root cells begin building nodules in which the bacteria then live.17

    Another clue was the well-known disfigurement that occurs when lab animals are reared in an incubator. These so-called germ-free animals, which grow up without any of their normal microbes, are strikingly unlike their normal counterparts, particularly in their intestinal morphology. In mice, for instance, cells lining the wall of the caecum a sac at the beginning of the large intestine - at some point begin producing different cell types with specialised functions. In germ-free mice this differentiation doesn't occur, leaving the tissue thin and elastic. As a result, faecal matter does not move through the digestive tract as it would normally, instead building up and causing the caecal membrane to bulge outward into the body cavity. The caecum in a germfree mouse can be 10 times larger than that of a normal mouse.18

    Bry and Gordon recently focused on a less dramatic abnormality of the germ-free mouse - the stunted production of fructose.19 In normal mice, these sugar molecules coat the outer membrane of certain cells in the lower region of the small intestines. In germ-free mice they stop doing so after 21 days. Bry et al. discovered that the difference was related to the presence of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a normal resident of the small intestines of both mice and humans. When fed to a germ-free mouse, this bacterium triggers the fructose molecules seen under normal conditions. In further work, the team found evidence suggesting that B. thetaiotaomicron sends a signal to the host cell, telling it to make fructose when needed.20 The result suggests that cross-talk helps the microbe establish a colony in the vicinity of those specific cells, adding to the belief that similar interactions underlie colonisation throughout the gut and perhaps elsewhere in the body.21

    Such cross talk, meanwhile, represents only one aspect of the symbiosis between the microbial world and an organism as complex as the human. Indeed, every nook of this vast and diverse landscape is a distinct habitat in which dozens and sometimes hundreds of species interact in rich communities. Microbiologists know this from decades of research into one of these habitats - the human tooth. Here several hundred different organisms exist in what is essentially a miniature ecosystem, with early and later colonisers, stages of succession, a climax community and a rich biodiversity involving predators, prey, scavengers and relationships of mutual dependence - just like that found in an old growth forest. Despite the variation in diets seen around the world, the members of this microbial community are remarkably similar from human mouth to human mouth. And no matter how aggressively one attempts to scrape it away, the same microscopic jungle regrows time and again.

    In the early 1900s, Russian microbiologist Elie Metchnikoff argued that these microbial communities inhabiting the body play an important role in human health. The Nobel Laureate went so far as to credit the unusual longevity of peasants in southern Russia to a diet rich in foods laced with lactic acid producing bacteria. Unfortunately, germs that don't cause disease have long been ignored by western science. As a result, little is known about these intimate residents. Indeed, the vast majority of them haven't even been named.

    Despite this, there has been during the past four decades a steadily growing list of hints emerging suggesting that the indigenous flora - as the body's compliment of microbes is, often called - may indeed play an important role in the preservation of health. One of the first major bits of evidence was the observation that germ-free mice succumb easily to infections that are normally harmless to conventional mice. This led to a number of convincing studies demonstrating that resident microbes provide strong protection against known pathogens.22-26 In one such study, germ-free mice died after being fed doses of the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes containing as few as 100 cells.27 Normal mice, on the other hand, survive up to one billion cells of the same germ.28

    Exactly how `good' germs protect a host organism isn't fully understood. It is known that humans acquire key fatty acids and vitamins through the metabolic by-products of resident microbes. One such product is vitamin K, a substance essential for blood clotting. A possibility is that these and other compounds may boost the host's general ability to protect itself.

    Another way these residents work on our behalf, however, harks back to the scramble among microbes for the prime real estate of the multicellular organism. Those bugs which have co-evolved with humans are much more adept at occupying the environmental niches the body has to offer than those literally coming `fresh off the street'. In other words, there's simply no room for pathogens to gain a foothold, a seemingly trivial fact, but one which has been identified as an important first step in the process of infection by potentially disease-causing environmental microbes.

    Even more importantly, however, there is growing evidence that resident bugs play an active role as the body's first line of defence. One mechanism is via the manufacture and release of molecules that in lab cultures inhibit the growth of potentially troublesome microbes, suggesting that the former are engaged in direct chemical warfare on the body's behalf. One such microbe, ironically, is H. pylori. According to a 1999 report in the journal Nature, written by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, this bacterium secretes antimicrobial substances that are lethal against potential pathogenic bacteria.29

    Other work has shown that Streptococci bacteria living in the mouth inhibit the growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia, and Streptococcus pylogenes, the instigator of `strep throat'. Some now view this as part of a chemical arms race between the body's bugs and those just passing through. `This is a whole unseen world that we never knew existed before the last couple of years,' says Page Caufield, an oral microbiologist at the University of Alabama.

    The presence of normal germs also appears to prime the immune system into a higher state of readiness. Evidence for this comes again from comparisons between germ-free mice and normal mice. In the former, the immune system is underdeveloped, characterised by near total absence of inflammatory cells in the tissue layers of the digestive tract, fewer antibody-producing plasma cells; lower levels of serum gamma-globulins; and underdeveloped Peyer's patches - the secondary lymphoid organs in the gut where immune cells interact.30,31 Germ free animals also take longer to mount an immune response after vaccination. And they take longer to properly heal.32

    At the same time, the various oral communities that live on the body are highly dependent on the environmental conditions that normally prevail within each niche. Shifts in pH, oxygen tension, ionic strength and other factors all disrupt community structure in the same way abnormal fluctuations might affect the nature of a forest. Something as seemingly innocuous as a reduction in saliva flow, a characteristic of Sjogren's syndrome, throws the oral ecology into turmoil.

    This sensitivity to local environmental conditions, coupled with the suspected role of the indigenous flora as an initial line of defence, suggests that infectious disease is less an attack by germs than a consequence of ecological change. Just as deer populations explode following the loss of a major predator, so, too, can normally benign members of the microflora flourish and turn harmful when their local ecosystems are disrupted. And just as an exotic species is more likely to invade a disturbed ecosystem, so, too, is the body more vulnerable to potentially deadly microbes from outside the body.

    An illustration of this ecological view of disease is the paradoxical risk of infection that accompanies the use of antibiotics. Around 1970, a previously rare ailment known as pseudomembranous colitis became epidemic in hospitals, particularly among elderly patients undergoing antibiotic therapy. After several patient deaths, authorities pinned the blame on Clostridium difficile, a bacterium found in the human intestines. This microbe lives more often in babies than adults, but in both cases it normally does so peacefully. What authorities eventually realised, however, was that when the intestinal ecosystem is disrupted, C. difficile is able to multiply more rapidly and colonise more territory. As its population expands, proteins excreted by the organism build up with toxic effect. The results can range from diarrhoea to a gradual deterioration of the intestinal wall which, if left untreated, can lead to death.33

    Other ailments often sparked by treatment with antibiotics include black hairy tongue, a fungal infection of the mouth caused by Aspergillus niger, and thrush, an outbreak in the oral cavity of the fungus Candida albicans. In both cases and others drugs hit the indigenous flora like a bomb, disrupting the established ecological balance.

    Shifts in the body's own chemistry, meanwhile, can have a similar effect. Take tooth decay. In the mid-1950s, researchers identified Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium that lives on teeth and infects most humans on the planet, as the cause of tooth decay. Part of the justification for this charge was the fact that S. mutans is one of the resident organisms that secretes lactic acid, which in sufficient quantity can erode tooth enamel and cause decay. While this is true, S. mutans isn't entirely to blame. Cavities, after all, were extremely rare among many aboriginal communities prior to European contact, even though most members of these communities are infected with the bug. Fossil teeth, in addition, are surprisingly rot-free. The explanation, of course - as everyone who has ever visited a dentist knows - is that diets have changed. As humans began eating more refined sugar, this massive alteration in nutrient input upset the established ecosystem of the mouth. One consequence is a more suitable environment for sucrose-loving organisms such as S. mutans - and as a result, more lactic acid production.34

    Such a cascade of events leads one to wonder how the body's microbial ecosystems might be responding to the many other factors bombarding them on an ongoing basis - and how this might influence the body's vulnerability to disease. Indeed, researchers are now beginning to probe this very question. In Holland, recent studies on rats have shown that in animals fed calcium phosphate, the microbial environment of the small intestines is altered in such a way as to favour an increase in the number of resident lactobacilli. When these animals are given a dose of Salmonella enteritidis, the subsequent infection is considerably less severe than in rats not given the dietary supplement, with significantly fewer pathogens colonising the intestinal wall and significantly fewer penetrating the tissue into the blood system.35

    Similarly, hormones may be another factor contributing to the integrity of the body's microbial ecosystems. It has become clear in recent years that stress can influence the severity of gastric haemorrhage, chronic diarrhoea and other pathogen-related digestive tract disorders in humans. Scientists also know that animal colonies often become sick when overcrowded or otherwise stressed often due to microbes already present.

    The prevailing wisdom is that these phenomena are due to stress hormones, which either suppress the immune system, or give the invading germs some added boost. Recently, Michael Bailey, at the University of Wisconsin, investigated whether the problem might instead be related to the microbial ecology changing in response to altered hormone levels. Bailey looked at why lab monkeys often suffer bouts of diarrhoea when first separated from their mothers. He found that levels of cortisol, one of the major stress hormones, rose in the young monkeys following maternal separation. This was followed by a significant drop in the numbers of lactobacilli being shed in the animals' stool samples. There was also a slight rise in the levels of the potentially diarrhoea-causing microbes Shigella and Campylobacter among the monkeys carrying these opportunistic species.36

    It has been a subject of discussion for decades how far this ecological theory of infectious disease can be taken. Bacteriologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rene Dubos argued that drugs, sanitation and vaccines have provided protection only against some diseases.37 Many, if not most diseases - from whooping cough to scarlet fever were brought under control in the developed world largely because people stopped living like so many poorly kept lab rats.

    `The human body has evolved so that under good conditions - and that means adequate nutrition and minimal crowding - it can handle most of what the bacterial world throws at it,' says Abigail Salyers. `But when you start impairing things like nutrition, or when a person has a big surgical wound of if you give them cancer chemotherapy anything we do that shifts the balance shifts it toward increased risk of infection.'

    What Salyers and others fear is that the balance is now being shifted, ironically, by the war on germs itself. Certainly humans living in the developed world today are cleaner than at any other period in the history of our species. Parasitic worms have been eliminated from the intestines of virtually everyone living in the wealthy parts of the world. Contact with protozoa, the tremendously varied group of more sophisticated single-celled microbes that includes amoeba and paramecium, has also been greatly reduced in the developed world by water and food treatment measures.

    Even the makeup of the body's resident bacterial communities appears to be changing. One hint is how infants in the developed world are now colonised by microbes shortly after birth. In a recent comparison of babies in Sweden and Pakistan, researchers found a marked difference in the quantity and variety of intestinal microbes between the two groups. Enterobacteria such as Escherichia coli, normally one of the first groups to establish residence in the digestive tract after birth, were well represented in the Pakistani infants after only two days. By comparison, more than a quarter of the Swedish babies still had no enterobacteria at all by the sixth and final day of the survey.38 A similar study compared Estonian and Swedish babies. The former tended to have a flora similar to that typical in western Europe during the 1970., including a preponderance of lactobacilli and eubacteria, while the latter tended to have more clostridia species, including C. difficile.39

    The tendency is to celebrate this as a victory in the war on germs. But there are several reasons why it may instead be a cause for concern. One is that humans live more or less peacefully with certain germs so long as the germs are ubiquitous. Both the polio virus40 and H. pylori41 are thought to have been widespread in human populations long before paralytic polio and stomach ulcers became serious threats. There is evidence that in both cases, problems arose once improved levels of hygiene disrupted the rapid transfer of these germs between host generations. As people began seeing the germs for the first time later in life, their immune systems responded to the challenge more vigorously. This gave rise to the paralysing nerve damage that characterises severe polio, and to the chronic inflammation that is the portent of gastric ulceration.

    If true, one has to wonder what effect continued attempts at environmental sterilisation may have on the multitude of organisms that remain ubiquitous, even in the already clean developed world. The most obvious red flag is the varicellazoster virus, the cause of chicken pox. In the US, where the virus currently infects 95 per cent of the population, children stand a greater chance of being struck dead by lightning than they do of dying of chicken pox. On the other hand, previously uninfected adults face a far more dangerous threat. Despite this, a chicken pox vaccine has recently reached the market for the first time, a move that could lower viral prevalence in the future - and one that might also lead to an increase in the number of previously uninfected adults.

    Another worry is that overkill in the war on germs is affecting the indigenous flora - much like a shot of antibiotics - only in more subtle and longer-lasting ways. Research now hints that eradication of H. pylori is causing new problems for ulcer patients, including a greater risk of oesophageal disorders, such as gastrointestinal reflux disease, which can lead to cancer.42-44 Thus, by eliminating a member of the indigenous microflora that causes problems under abnormal conditions, you may create trouble for when things are normal again. There is now also some evidence that vaginal douching may cause bacterial vaginosis, a disruption of the vagina's microbial ecosystem in which normally dominant lactobacilli are replaced by a variety of different organisms that have been associated with severe upper genital tract infections and pregnancy-related problems such as preterm labour.45

    Hardier microbes, meanwhile, may be invading niches formerly occupied by indigenous germs eliminated by modern hygiene - a problem that is to excessive cleanliness what resistance is to the over use of antibiotics. Studies from the US46 and Sweden47 for instance, have shown that the intestines of babies in those countries are now being colonised by Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, normal skin-dwelling organisms that have become among the leading causes of sepsis in the intensive care units of hospitals in the developed world. What some fear is that a niche cleared of a co-evolved symbiont may be filled with something less benign. `Nature abhors a vacuum,' cautions Martin Blaser, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine in New York. `If you create a vacuum, that vacuum is going to be filled.'

    Perhaps an even greater concern, however, is that a dramatically restricted exposure to microbes has put the human body on the road to a state approximating that of the germ-free mouse - underdeveloped and immunologically retarded. The evidence is the suspected link between hygiene and a disturbing rise in immune-related diseases being reported throughout the developed world. These include allergic diseases such as hay fever, eczema and asthma; autoimmune diseases such as type-1 juvenile diabetes and multiple sclerosis; and Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease involving immune responses to the normally benign indigenous flora - all diseases in which the immune system, like a punch-drunk boxer, lashes out with reckless imprecision.

    Hints of this connection first emerged during the mid-1970. when it was observed that allergies and autoimmune diseases appeared to be rare in regions of high parasitic worm infestation.48-49 In one of the more bizarre cases in the annals of scientific discovery, John Tuarton, then a researcher at the Medical Research Council, noted the absence of his own normally pronounced hay fever attacks during two summers in which he was infected with hookworms, a state he had brought upon himself in order to rear larvae for his own research.50 The topic was revisited in 1989 when David Strachan, an epidemiologist then with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, published results from a study investigating the medical records of more than 17,000 British citizens. Strachan discovered an inverse relationship between family size and the presence of two allergic diseases, hay fever and eczema, which led him to hypothesise that having older siblings exposed one to more germs, and that this somehow prevented the immune system from launching wayward attacks such as those associated with allergies.51

    In recent years the `hygiene hypothesis' has attracted increasing interest as more epidemiological evidence have surfaced.52-54 A team of Norwegian and British scientists recently looked at nearly 14,000 20-44year-olds in New Zealand, Australia, the US and Europe, and concluded that protection from allergies was associated with large families with older brothers, shared bedrooms, and growing up with a dog.55 In other studies, lower allergy rates have been associated with children who attended day care during their first year,56 children whose parents adhere to anthroposophy (a lifestyle that involves, among other things, restrictive use of antibiotics and a diet consisting of traditionally preserved foods such as fermented vegetables,57 individuals who grew up on a farm58-60 and those who experienced childhood diseases such as tuberculosis61 or measles.62 A common factor in each is a reduced exposure to germs.

    At the same time, the hygiene hypothesis has gained credibility from recent advances in immunology. It is now known that the body's varied arsenal of immune cells is directed by a network of chemical signals known as cytokines. Some of these cytokines are involved in the immune response that occurs when the body is stimulated by the presence of bacteria and viruses. Others participate in a different response, one involving many of the processes underlying an allergy attack. Hints that these two sides regulate one another suggest that a balanced, healthy immune system may depend on exposure to a certain profile of microbes.63-67 Exactly what germs may be required for optimal health remains unclear. One theory is that humans in the developed world are not getting enough exposure to the harmless organisms found in the soil.68 Another blames disruptions in the indigenous flora.69 Either way, there is a growing sense that people in developed countries aren't getting enough germs. This doesn't mean revisiting the conditions that fostered the bubonic plague, but rather accepting the natural role of germs in the proper workings of the body. ' I'm not saying that we should be more dirty,' says Tore Midtvedt, a microbiologist at the Karolinska Institute, and one of the world's leading experts on indigenous flora. ' I'm saying we should be less clean.'

    In discussing the need for a new view of germs, Rene Dubos wrote more than 35 years ago: `The real problem is not how to apply more effectively the control procedures we already possess, or how to improve them, but rather to search for a qualitatively different kind of knowledge.18 Today, Midtvedt and others echo this argument. They say it's time to replace the `war-on-germs' metaphor with a perspective that more accurately reflects the ecological nature of infectious diseases.70,71


    This is not to say that humans should be wallowing in their own faeces, drinking polluted water or living in close contact with large numbers of rats, fleas or other potential vectors, or that we should abandon entirely the many highly useful and effective weapons that have been in use over the past century. Instead, we should stop trying to sanitise our homes, paying attention instead to rational degrees of hygiene; we should start practicing animal husbandry and food preservation techniques that respect the ecological realities of a germ-filled world; we should save antibiotics and vaccines for when they're really needed; and, above all, we should redefine both infection and infectious disease. `Find the mechanisms that are at work in those few people that have a disease,' says Midtvedt. `And use that to eradicate the disease without eradicating the bug.'

    Obviously such an approach requires a much greater understanding of how the many complex components of body interact with the microbial world. But there is no reason to think such knowledge is beyond our reach. Indeed, modern .science may already be heading in this direction.

    One sign is the current rise of research interest into the field of 'probiotics', the use of live bacteria to preserve health and treat disease. At a recent meeting of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Japanese scientists reported on using live bacteria to lower serum endotoxin - a potential precursor of life-threatening systemic infection - in nine babies recovering from surgery. The researchers suggest such an approach may ultimately be safer than antibiotics in protecting patients from dangerous post-surgery infections.72

    Researchers in London" and elsewhere 74,75 have reported on the use of lactobacilli to treat bacterial vaginosis. In 1998, German researchers reported a case in which E. coli was used to successfully treat an 82year-old woman who was suffering from severe pseudomembranous colitis.76

    And in perhaps the ultimate illustration of how far things have come, Joel Weinstock, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa, recently ran a preliminary clinical trial in which six patients suffering from severe Crohn's disease were treated with a dose of live parasitic worms.77 In five of the six, the disease went into complete remission in the period when the harmless microbes were in the patients' bodies. The sixth patient also showed significant improvement.

    The results, presented at an American Gastroenterological Association conference in 1999, have since led to larger trials, including one in which a patient is now receiving on-going worm therapy so far with positive results.

    Understanding the ecology of germs and their hosts also provides humans with indirect benefits. On today's large-scale chicken farms, for example, mass production depends on removing the eggs as soon as they are laid, then hatching them in incubators. In this sterile environment, away from contact with the hens, the chicks mature without their normal flora, a situation that renders them more susceptible to Salmonella infection once they're returned to the flock, and which increases the risk of passing these pathogens on to humans.

    Last year the US Department of Agriculture developed a substitute inoculation kit - a spray containing 29 different constituents of a chicken's normal indigenous flora - that can be sprayed on chicks soon after they leave the incubator. The result, according to studies done during development of the spray, is a significant protection against infection from such pathogens as Salmonella gallingrum78 and Listeria monocytogenes79

    Cattle farms, meanwhile, have grown in scale since the Second World War partly because the animals are now fattened mainly on grain. This diet has been found to foster growth within the intestines of hardier strains of E. coli, which may explain the rise in recent decades of E. coli-related food-born illnesses. One recent study, however, shows how intestinal E. coli numbers can be significantly reduced by feeding cattle a more traditional hay-based diet during a five-day period prior to slaughter.80

    Despite these gains, however, the microbe hunters still rule. Indeed, 100 years of germ theory has spawned impressive germ-fighting offspring. Besides the onslaught of advertising from businesses hawking a dizzying array of anti-germ products, both private industry and academia are pushing the war on germs to greater heights. Among the increasing number of new vaccine development programs underway, are several aimed at the body's own microbial community, a list that includes H. pylori, S. mutans, C. difficile, S. aureus, S. epidermidis and Porphyromonas gingivalis, one of several of the oral cavity's microbes associated with periodontal disease.

    In the meantime, evidence that coronary disease and atherosclerosis may be caused by bacteria has sparked hopes that many more of humanity's ills are caused by germs, and are therefore treatable. The long list of potential candidates shows that the golden lure of anti-germ therapy still glows exceedingly bright, and includes: many forms of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Wegener's granulomatosis, diabetes mellitus, primary biliary cirrhosis, tropical sprue, Kawasaki disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, most of the major psychiatric diseases, as well as cerebral palsy, polycystic ovary disease, obesity and anorexia.81

    Clearly, western medicine is approaching a cross-roads in the quest to save more lives from infectious disease. The growing problem of antibiotic-resistance and the emergence of new microbial threats has raised the call for renewed action. One response would be to intensify the war on germs still further. Another would be to accept the true reality of where we stand. `We're not living in a bubble,' says Stuart Levy. `We've emerged and evolved in the bacterial world and to try to get rid of bacteria is to try to get rid of the world.'

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Garry Hamilton is a Canadian freelance science writer currently living in Seattle.
    Combining his interest in microbiology and ecology encouraged him to specialise in the field of how the body interacts with germs.

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  14. Helen

    Helen
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    HI John,

    I was aware of that research and the article presents it well, but it is not the same as the actual possible need for innoculations against known killers.

    As a side to your article, however, we are also finding that various foods and a well-balanced diet can do enormous amounts toward warding off a lot of illnesses by boosting our immune systems. For instance, the skin of grapes seems to contain something that is a natural anti-viral agent! The skin of a papaya is known to be able to deal with stubborn skin infections.

    And yes, it is important not to try to insulate ourselves from the variety of bacteria all around us; they do stimulate the immune system, too. But, then, over-stimulation is just as bad! Ask anyone with arthritis or allergies!

    It's a balancing act, based on the knowledge we do have and the lives we live and a healthy dose of common sense.
     
  15. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    My son is 20 months (isn't he cute) and has yet to receive immunizations. We will do it when he is 2 (or older). There is no rush.

    My son will never die until his appointed time (immunizations or not). Read Ps. 139.
     
  16. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    And I guess cancer patients shouldnt take their medicines and heart patients shouldn't take theres either. And those that do not take those shots leave it wide open to spread it rather than kill it out.

    Now I do not mean to be judgemental or harsh, but let me quess...you wear a veil (headcovering), you wear a dress and don't believe in pants, you homeschool, and you don't believe in giving your children the proper shots to protect themselves against diseases. You do not drink caffene products, and you do not work. You are not Amnish or Quaker, yet you qualify as a Amnish (or Omnish, either is correct) Menninite. But then even the Amnish will ride in a car. They just won't own one. Which by the way, some are the best mechanics.

    The only thing left is a commune. I hear Utah is big on communes.

    Sherrie
     
  17. Helen

    Helen
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    Hey, Sherrie -- homeschooling's cool... [​IMG]

    And we really do need to respect each person's understanding of what is best in the Lord. The Holy Spirit is working on us all. He won't leave one of us 'half done'. Perhaps the half that is done, or close to is on one person is the exact half that is not done in another, though, at this point... [​IMG]
     
  18. Helen

    Helen
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    In other words, murder victims should be dead?
     
  19. Caretaker

    Caretaker
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    Well said Helen, for it is imperative not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Many of my grandparents siblings died from influenza and thyphoid outbreaks in the late 1800's. When my grandmother was three years old she sat her turn at deathwatch by her mother's bed.

    We were the first generation to receive the new polio vaccine. We had a series of three, and I remeber that one was a shot, and then I had a couple that were oral. Never again did they have to close the swimming pools for the summer, and the Iron Lungs were sent to storage. I am familiar with several dear ones who are going through post-polio syndrome, with horrendous arthritic pain in their joints and limbs.

    I still have the scar from my original smallpox vaccination, and I will step up and get it again.
    Millions died from smallpox, and a it is a horrific disease, which can be prevented through innoculation.

    I agree that one does need sickness to build up immunity. One example is the overuse of antibiotics, and resistant strains of bacteria. Often children with colds are put right on antibiotics, and they do not have the ability to build up a natural immunity.

    I just praise God for the science that has kept my children and grandchildren from facing polio, smallpox, typhoid fever, untreatable influenza, tuberculosus.

    May God so bless His precious children.

    A servant of Christ,
    Drew

    Psalm 51:10
    Create in me a new heart, O' God, and renew a right spirit within me.

    [ December 21, 2002, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: Caretaker ]
     
  20. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    I do respect other opinions and ideas. And I do think home schooling is just fine.

    But come on folks...there is life after little house on the prairie.

    God also gives men the wisdom and the knowledge to find cures for diseases through medicines and shots. Even wiping out diseases by just giving your child a shot.

    It is easy to say what if I never did this or never did that, or if I never gave my child that shot. Then this would have never happened. But there is a reason and purpose why things happen.

    Some cancers have become cureable due to test and research and medicines. Some heart patients are living due to transplants. And it was God's will these researches were done and succeded. I think it is sheer foolishness and over panicing to not have your childs shots. It is one thing to read all this stuff, and think that this reaches a whole for all children. It is wrong to leave your child out there as an open target for any disease.

    Those poor children in Africa who are dying because they do not have the opportunities as USA children. They are dying like flies left and right because of Hep. and other diseases. And you who have every free opportunity to have these shots, play some kind of god game with your own kids lives.

    The knowledge of prenatial care, care after birth, and shots are available to all women in the USA. It is wrong to say there are a lot of women who do not know. There is WIC, DAOCC, Medicaid, Medicare, Female, Child, and Family Clinics. There is knowledge of it even in commericials and adds in the paper. Those are just some. There are other ways too. This is not the period before the 50's.

    While I agree there should be some concern as to your child in anything. But truly going overboard is not the answer. It is something that should be talked over with your Doctor. And he and you can best decide when a shot can be given.

    Sherrie
     

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