Vaccines (Part II): Hygiene, Sanitation, Immunization, and Pestilential Diseases

In the “heat of the moment”, regarding mandatory vaccinations,  it is appropriate to include this post, by Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD, published by ‘Hacienda Publishing’.

Part I is linked and adds important relevant information.

Supporting mandatory vaccinations without reading this, (and ALL the other references and related evidence), is a serious omission of public responsibility.

As the controversial debate over mandatory vaccine policy heats up igniting passions, it is perhaps appropriate we summarize what is known about the manifest benefits of modern vaccines, not forgetting the tremendously salutary impact on health and longevity wrought about by better living conditions, hygiene and sanitation, in general, and the introduction and subsequent widespread use of antibiotics, in particular.

In Part I of this essay, we discussed the history of vaccinations, the advent of the germ theory of disease, and the ushering in of the dawn of scientific medicine.(1) In Part II, we will weave into this historic tapestry the more contemporary history behind some of the many infectious illnesses of the 20th century and revisit the story as to how they were eradicated. Only then can we arrive at today’s reality over vaccine policy and reach the truth as to the best possible advice that should presently be given to individual patients.(2,3)

Officials at the CDC tell us vaccines are “90 percent safe and effective.” And according to UNICEF, vaccines save the lives of at least 1.5 million children every year. Yet, parents are concerned, and increasingly, dissenting physicians are asking questions and breaking away from the heretofore monolithic medical ranks. Let’s look at the big picture to avoid missing the forest for the trees.

Growing up, I thought deadly infectious diseases had been conquered long ago. Yet, in Cuba, I knew of a girl who died of diphtheria, and my father as a country doctor, diagnosed and treated a case of anthrax and another one of typhus. When I visited Haiti in 1975 as a medical student, I saw cases of tetanus and congenital syphilis. In 1982, while I was chief neurosurgical resident at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, we had in our service, simultaneously, patients with Pott’s Disease, miliary TB with renal involvement and cerebral tuberculoma (for which we were consulted as to possible removal), and tubercular meningitis (for which we were to implant a Rickham reservoir for CNS chemotherapy). Scrofula was the only “classical” TB case missing in our clinical service!

And with the advent of AIDS and other immune deficiency and immunosuppressed states, we have seen in the 1990s a resurgence of tuberculosis and other opportunistic, infectious diseases, e.g., toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), etc. In my own practice, I treated patients with chronic fungal meningitis and bacterial subdural empyemas requiring surgical evacuation. So, infectious diseases are still with us, and so taking preventive public health measures is prudent in many circumstances when the public is at risk. With this in mind, let’s look at some of these diseases that are specifically salient to our discussion, and try to separate the wheat from the chaff in the debate.


In the 1950s, there were 20,000 cases of polio annually causing more than 1,000 deaths(4); many more thousand victims were left in iron lungs. This was caused because of the predilection of the polio virus for the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord and consequent paralysis of the respiratory muscles. But, what is less known, and this is quite disconcerting to me, is that between 1923-1953, before the Salk (dead virus) vaccine was discovered in 1955, the polio death rate in the U.S. and England declined on its own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively.(5) This is not reported or discussed by the public health establishment but, it seems, only by independent researchers (Figure 1); neither is the fact that European countries, which didn’t systematically immunize their citizens, also experienced a precipitous decline in their polio morbidity and mortality statistics.

And yet, between 1951-1954, before immunization, there were still more than 16,000 cases of polio and nearly 1,900 deaths. It was not until 1991 that polio was virtually eradicated from the U.S. and other nations of the Western Hemisphere. There is no question that in this case better hygiene and sanitation and better living conditions were bringing down the number of cases of polio, but the vaccine itself, finally, was probably responsible for dispatching the final blows to the disease.

Today the disease has been completely eradicated, except for the fact that with the advent of the Sabin (live virus) vaccine in 1959, there had been iatrogenic cases of polio (up to 8 cases per year) that had developed due to activation and infection by the live oral polio virus in the vaccine. Due to this fact, in June 1999, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) began advising doctors to use the Salk (dead virus) injected vaccine rather than the oral vaccine containing the live virus.(6)


Read on, here, the source article.



About Ken McMurtrie

Retired Electronics Engineer, most recently installing and maintaining medical X-Ray equipment. A mature age "student" of Life and Nature, an advocate of Truth, Justice and Humanity, promoting awareness of the injustices in the world.
This entry was posted in drugs & medication, HEALTH, vaccines, World Issues and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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