F. M. Padelford, M.D., Fall River, Mass.
Proponents of vaccination assume that by vaccinating every member of society one or more times in life, mortality from smallpox can be very much reduced, if indeed not eliminated altogether. They believe that this reduction in mortality, effected in this manner, is in every way desirable, and that the general mortality will be correspondingly reduced. But is this a justifiable conclusion? We believe that it is not. We believe that to inflict universally, even a mild disease, is to so lower the general level of health, and to so lower the general level of health, and to so lower the general level of resistance to infecting agents, that other diseases will be much more liable to occur, and furthermore, that when they do occur, there will ensue from them a fatality-rate appreciably higher than would have been manifested in persons whose health had not been previously tampered with.
To prove this by resort to experiment is difficult indeed, if not impossible. Yet we are confident that were we to vaccinate in a wide territory for a given number of years and then, for a corresponding period, to refrain, other conditions remaining the same, we would observe in the second period, a general mortality decidedly lower than in the first period.
Even were there no deaths as a direct result of the inoculating that has been done, indirectly a great number might occur, from exactly this cause. Occurring in “vaccinated” subjects, such diseases as measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, and diarrhoea, we believe would assume a malignancy, which would not be manifested under other conditions.
We know of no well-authenticated instances in which immunity against one disease has been acquired by an attack of another malady unlike it in character. Scarlet fever seems rarely to attack a person a second time. The same is apparently true of measles, whooping cough, and some few other diseases. But scarlet fever does not confer immunity against measles, nor does whooping cough protect against any malady except itself.
But while one disease does not confer immunity against any other, the fact sees established that the existence of one disease of a zymotic type does so lower resistance that invasion of the organism by germs of another character is made more easy. The fatal outcome of a case of smallpox may be due to secondary streptococcic infection. In diphtheria death seems, in some instances at least, to be the result, not of the primary malady, but of the invasion of the tissues by streptococci or other bacteria.
Guinea pigs which apparently are not injured by injection of typhoid bacilli, die quickly of a general infection if, accompanying this first injection another, of a sterilized culture of colon babilli, is made into the peritoneum.
In tuberculosis, a secondary infection with pus-producing micro-organisms probably always occurs.
Tetanus seems more liable to develop where already there exists a local inflammation with destruction of tissue – a necrotic area in which the tetanus bacilli find an environment favorable to their growth. If such a pathological condition as this develops in one who happens to be a “carrier” of the germs of lock-jaw, disaster is almost inevitable. This is one of the risks involved in making hypodermic or intramuscular injections of quinin. And obviously there is the same danger when, following vaccination, there develops at the site of inoculation, a considerable slough.
A goodly percentage of people probably harbor in or on their bodies, most of the time, micro-organisms of various types, not all of which are of a harmless character. Notwithstanding this, however, they continue to enjoy good health as long as they secure a requisite amount of sleep, eat as they should, and avoid exposure to extreme degrees of, or to sudden and too great changes in, temperature.
Any indulgence or exposure which lowers one’s resistance to disease is, of course, but an invitation for an attack of illness. This lowered resistance gives to harbored micro-organisms an opportunity to develop,
It is quite possible that germs which ordinarily are non-pathogenic may, in the body of a person whose resistance is greatly reduced, acquire the ability, not only to thrive upon living human tissue, but also to induce disease. In this way, maladies of a hitherto unobserved character may come into existence.
When in the laboratory, it is desired to increase the virulence of a specific micro-organism for a given animal, this result is usually achieved by inoculating with this germ a series of animals of the family to which this particular one belongs. This organism, apparently, by a “stepping-up” process, gains in virulence in each body into which it has been introduced.
Altogether too little attention has been paid to the fact that living germs introduced into a healthy body may be harbored there for months, or even years, producing no effects of consequence, until there comes the final explosion. Along this line some interesting observations have been made.
From the tissues of guinea pigs which, for a period of seven months following inoculation with “washed tetanus spores,” manifested no ill effects whatever, true tetanus bacilli of a virulent type have been recovered.
Pasteur undertook, by inoculating fowl with weakened living germs of chicken cholera, to abolish this disease. For a time the results seemed promising, but ultimately cholera broke out among those supposedly “protected” birds and destroyed them in large numbers. This outcome led to the conclusion that a very chronic form of malady may result from such inoculation, that the germs, apparently remaining for a time localized in certain organs, finally pass into the blood stream and cause cholera of a fatal type.
Killed tubercle bacilli introduced into the circulation of rabbits have caused to develop in the lungs “numerous tubercle nodules with well-formed giant cells, and occasionally traces of caseation” Furthermore, animals which have been given injections of massive doses of dead tubercle bacilli, afterwards give a positive tuberculin reaction. This being true, what may we anticipate will be the final result of injecting to the human body, millions of killed bacilli of typhoid fever?
Whether or not, when cases of a contagious disease appear in any community, the outbreak will assume epidemic proportions will depend, to a very great degree, upon two factors. The susceptibility of the population to this particular contagion, and the virulence of the parasites of the malady in question.
When anything approaching ideal conditions exists, only a small percentage of any large group of people is likely to contract any one zymotic disease. The “inflammable” material, at any given time, is undoubtedly very much less than scaremongers would have us believe. But if, unfortunately, the resistance of a relatively large number of persons becomes considerably reduced, especially where population is congested, any contagious disease which is once introduced is pretty sure to pass rapidly out of bounds. And not only will the number of cases increase, in consequence of the “stepping-up” process already referred to; but also the severity of the cases will steadily increase as well.
Persons who are able to overcome infections mild in character will stand little chance of escaping when exposed to attack by micro-organisms of extraordinary virulence.
The influenza outbreak of 1918 assumed alarming characteristics in the army camps. Whether the disease originated there or was introduced from the outside we do not know. But among the soldiers it spread rapidly. So great a degree of malignancy had it acquired when it reached the civil population, as it was bound to do ultimately, that only persons whose resistance was exceptionally high were able to resist it.
The bacteriology of the disease is even now largely a matter of speculation. Whether the worst cases owed their malignancy to secondary infection with some virulent strain of streptococci, we do not know, yet this appears to have been the case.
As is generally known, with few exceptions indeed, men entering the Service were compelled to submit to repeated injections of killed bacilli of typhoid and para-typhoid fevers, and in addition to this, to inoculation with the non-sterilized bacterial compound, commonly known as “vaccine lymph.”
In 1911 specimens of virus propagated in the laboratories of two of the leading manufacturers of such products in the United States, were purchased in the open market and subjected to exhaustive bacteriological and biological tests.
From these specimens twenty-two different micro-organisms were isolated. Eighteen out of the twenty-two were found to be pathogenic; six were pyogenic or pus-producing; fourteen were mortal to laboratory animals. One, which resembled the bacillus of malignant oedema, caused the death of a guinea pig within thirty-six hours.
During the course of the experiments, forty-eight animals were subjected to inoculation. Thirty-three succumbed to pathological lesions unmistakably produced by the organisms with which they had been inoculated.
One witness, testifying before the Pennsylvania Vaccination Commission, in 1912, stated that he had found, in virus ready for use, “all the pus-producing organisms, the streptococcus, the staphylococcus, the pneumococcus, etc.,” and “suspicious” bacilli, which were either “tetanus or pseudo-tetanus bacilli.”
An even later pronouncement on the subject is, that “bovine virus usually contains the pus organisms, the staphylococcus aureus and albus, the streptococcus, and in rare instances the tetanus bacillus.”
It is not denied by any pro-vaccinationist having a reputation to lose, that vaccine virus does contain adventitious micro-organisms of various sorts. The most that is claimed is, that these contaminating bacteria are harmless. But this contention the experiments above referred to should suffice to refute.
In the light of present-day knowledge what should we anticipate if, among menassembled in army camps, there occur cases of a contagious disease like influenza, when, almost without exception, these men have been subjected to repeated injections of massive doses of dead bacteria, together with toxins developed by them during their growth on culture media, and at the same time, or at practically the same time have also been subjected to inoculation with living, pathogenic micro-organisms such as have been repeatedly isolated from commercial “lymph”? If past experience is any criterion and if analogy constitutes a valid basis for judgement, a pestilence of some sort, surely! And from a pestilence the world has certainly lately suffered!
It is true that among the soldiers, the attack-rates from typhoid, para-typhoid, and smallpox, were very low. In some measure, we feel sure this result is attributable to the sanitary precautions which were taken. Yet, discounting this altogether and conceding, for the sake of argument, that the practical elimination of the three diseases referred to was due, not to sanitation, but instead, to the injections and inoculations which had been made, what in reality was gained? Were there fewer deaths in the world than there would have been, had the “immunizer’s” syringe and the vaccinator’s lancet not been used?
If, in some future war, the medical officers in charge administer in addition to such-injections and inoculations as were made in this last world tragedy, some (for-the-time-being) popular “vaccine” for the prevention of influenza, and it so happens that there occur few deaths from this disease what new pestilence may we expect to come forth, to plague humanity?
As public health measures, only those practices are defensible which actually reduce the general mortality. No proof exists that universal “disease-causing” has ever lessened, in any discoverable degree, the whole number of deaths that have occurred in any given period, from the various causes which bring to an end, human life.
“Of thorns, men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush, gather they grapes.”