I write this post with a great deal of trepidation. The last time I perused the Medical Voices website I found nine questions that needed answering. So I answered them. One of the consequences of that blog entry was the promise that Medical Voices was poised to “tear my arguments to shreds.” Tear to shreds! Such a painful metaphor.
They specified that the shred tearing would be accomplished during a live debate, rather than a written response. While Dr. Gorski gave excellent reasons why such a debate is counterproductive, I am disinclined for more practical reasons. I am a slow thinker and a lousy debater and have never, ever, won a debate at home. If I cannot win pitted against my wife, what chance would I have against the combined might of the doctors and scientists at Medical Voices? My fragile psyche could not withstand the onslaught.
Still, there is much iron pyrite to be mined at Medical Voices and it may provide me for at least a years worth of entries. Please forgive me if I seem nervous or distracted. I have a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head and it may fall at any time. My writings may, without warning, be torn to pieces by the razor sharp logical sword of Medical Voices. Or maybe not. It is my understanding that Medical Voices will only answer with a debate, so maybe I am safe from total ego destruction.
This month, as I perused Medical Voices, I found it difficult to choose an article. So much opportunity and I have limited time to write. I finally decided on Why the New Mumps Outbreak Puts You At Risk by Robert J. Rowen, M.D.
Mumps is a timely topic as, along with measles, it has returned thanks to the work of Dr. Wakefield. His fabrication of data to falsely suggest MMR causes autism has lead to a decrease in MMR use. In some areas of England 15% of the children were not vaccinated, levels that allow the virus to perpetuate in the community. The second ‘M’ in the MMR stands for mumps. While the measles outbreak has been getting all the press, England has been plagued with mumps as well, with over 3000 reported cases. Dr. Wakefield can be credited with over 5000 (mumps plus measles) sick children. I wonder how he can look at himself in the mirror.
Last year an 11-year-old child visited England. He was not vaccinated for religious reasons and, in addition to wonderful memories of a trip overseas, he brought home mumps. There have been over 1500 cases in New York and New Jersey as a result. Most of the disease has circulated in the unvaccinated religious community, but there have been cases in adjacent communities as well. Most of the cases of mumps in the non-religious have been in individuals that have received the MMR, although the cases in the community have been isolated while the disease is persisting in the unvaccinated religious community.
This is being touted as a failure of the MMR and an indictment of vaccination in general. What you should have instead is the real disease, get real immunity, and never worry about mumps again — or so argues Dr. Rowen.
Does real infection give better immunity? Maybe. What happened in olden times is kids would get mumps and develop antibodies to the infection. Then, since mumps was constantly circulating, they would be intermittently re-exposed to the virus and the immune system would get a nudge and produce more antibody. Constant exposure kept the antibody levels high. Natural infection may, with some infections, lead to higher antibody levels and a more sustained response, at a cost of the morbidity and mortality. Everything in medicine is a trade off.
Contrast with today: your only exposure to mumps is from the vaccine. Since you are not constantly re-exposed, your immune system has no reason to make antibody and antibody levels drift down over time. This is happening with chickenpox. Shingles is increasing in incidence in the elderly since people are no longer getting naturally boosted from re-exposure to chickenpox. As their antibodies wane over time, the chance of shingles goes up. Hence the need for the zoster vaccine booster in the elderly.
The recommendation to help abort the mumps outbreak is another dose of the MMR vaccine and the brisk response many kids have suggests an amnestic response: they have memory cells that recognize the mumps and respond to the vaccine antigens.
I think of the vaccine as a four-foot wall to keep out zombies. Maybe the odd zombie will jump the wall, but unlikely. Zombies are not typically coordinated enough. Getting the disease instead of the vaccine is building an eight-foot wall. It keeps out the zombies as well, but during the construction a few will fall off into the mouths of the waiting zombie hordes. Mumps is not without complications (orchitis and encephalitis being the most feared).
So with that as back ground, what does Robert J. Rowen have to say about mumps?
Did you have the mumps when you were a child? If so, it’s one of the best ways to avoid the mumps now that you’re older. If you didn’t have the mumps, you could be at serious risk for contracting the childhood disease — even if you’ve had the vaccine. As you may know, I’ve decried vaccines for decades. Why? They’re toxic (they inject poisonous additives into you), they deny children their needed usual infections to develop a robust immune system, and now there’s a third reason. Vaccines may not last a lifetime. And if they don’t, you could contract the disease as an adult. Think it won’t happen? Think again.
The “toxin gambit” has been covered at length on this blog. However, the immune system does not need ‘usual’ infections to build a robust immune system. As I have mentioned in the past, the immune system is not like a bicep that gets bigger and stronger as you use it. There are over 1,300 common pathogens that can infect us and uncountable non-pathogens we can be exposed to. We get enough infections in life — the vaccine preventable illnesses are a drop in the infectious bucket and can be avoided with no detriment to immune function.
I have to admit, as an infectious disease specialist who only gets paid to take care of infections, I do like I doc who seems to be in favor of children getting mumps, measles, influenza, tetanus, pneumococcus, Haemophilus, hepatitis B, rubella, hepatitis A, polio, diphtheria, pertussis and meningococcus.
The effectiveness of the mumps component of the MMR vaccine is lower than that of the measles and rubella components. Estimates of the effectiveness of the mumps vaccine have varied in previous studies, ranging from 73% to 91% after 1 dose and from 79% to 95% after 2 doses.
It is well known that antibody levels slowly decline over time but that patients will have a brisk increase in their antibodies if they get a booster dose. Natural infection may give a longer lived antibody response but not without the complications from the diseases.
Is this ignorance of the data or willful misrepresentation of the data? I hope the former, but I suspect the latter.
Last week, at least 1,521 people in New York and New Jersey developed mumps. About 85% of the victims had the usual two doses of the MMR vaccine. What have they gotten for it? So far, 55 cases of swollen and painful testicles, five cases of pancreatitis, two cases of meningitis, one case of temporary deafness, one case of Bell’s palsy, and one case of inflamed ovaries.
That is what you get from the natural mumps? Ouch. That is the trade off. Vaccines prevent disease with almost no morbidity or mortality but immunity may fade with time and, if herd immunity is not maintained, disease can spread.
Mumps is a relatively benign disease in kids. It is far more problematic in adults. One fear is damaged testicles leading to sterility, which is probably an overblown risk (and something most men over 65 don’t worry about too much). The other complications mentioned above are also well known.
According to the CDC, “The median age of patients is 15 years (range 3 months–90 years) and is similar in all areas with ongoing transmission except New Jersey, where the median age is 17 years. Sound like kids to me.
What is the risk? “Orchitis is the most common complication of mumps in post-pubertal men, affecting about 20%-30% of cases: 10%-30% are bilateral. Orchitis usually occurs 1-2 weeks after parotitis. Of affected testicles, 30%-50 % show a degree of testicular atrophy.”
And he fails to mention encephalitis. That is the horrible complication of mumps. It’s rare, but awful to have a child brain damaged by a preventable illness. In Finland:
The incidence of encephalitis was 8.3/100,000 child-years (range 19.8 in 1974 to 2.5 in 1985 and 1986). The organisms most commonly associated with encephalitis in children were mumps, measles, and varicella viruses, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. After the start of the nationwide measles, parotitis, and rubella (MPR) vaccination programme in 1982 in Finland, encephalitides associated with these viruses seem to have totally vanished.
Totally vanished. No brain damaged kids from mumps or measles. If the low vaccination rates become the norm, maybe we will see mumps encephalitis again. I bet some anti-vaxers will say the brain damage was not from the infection but that it was from shaking the child.
Of course, the pundits’ reaction is to recommend a third vaccine. This will raise the risk of immune reactions. And it will fill you with toxic substances.
Half a CC of vaccine will fill you with toxins. Yet another person I do not want to be my bartender. I would order a pint and get drop of ale and be told the glass was full to the rim.
But why would you want a third vaccine? Vaccines may not give life-long immunity, as does the wild virus. Furthermore, lifelong immunity might be fostered by repeated exposure to the wild virus circulating every few years and giving your immune system a memory boost. With the wild virus largely removed, large swaths of the population might lose immunity over time and when re-exposed, develop disease or at least become spreading carriers.
I would get a third dose of vaccine to avoid mumps and all its complications. He evidently is advocating for the return to the 1800’s when everyone got mumps and a few died or had permanent severe neurological complications compared to a well vaccinated population where no one gets mumps or its complications. Odd advice. Of course he fails to mention that when vaccine rates were high, mumps was almost non-existent. I have seen one case in 25 years of practice, and that was last year. The solution to mumps is not to let it circulate freely in human populations, the solution is to go all smallpox on its butt and eradicate it with vaccinations.
Please note it is not the vaccinated who are the “spreading carriers” in the current outbreak, it is the unvaccinated population.
If you or a loved one does get mumps, measles, or even chicken pox, I recommend an immediate ozone treatment, ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy, or a high-dose vitamin C IV. It sure worked for the few cases of mumps I saw in Alaska.
Huh? I have never heard to the first two interventions.
What is blood irradiation therapy? Take 6 oz of blood, irradiate it with ultraviolet light and reinject it into the patient. Infections will go away in hours to minutes. In the pre-antibiotic era it was 50% effective in comatose patients (those about to die) and 98 to 100% effective in less severe infections. It is equally effective for viruses, bacteria and even Tb.
Ozone therapy is the slow infusion hydrogen peroxide with similar benefits and no side effects in thousands of patients treated with the modality in the 1940’s.
I am not making this up; it is not an attempt at over-the-top humor. It is what Robert J. Rowen says on You Tube.
He also says that the therapy works in part by killing the bacteria or virus in the blood and then reinjecting it into the body where the immune system will have a much more brisk response to the dead bacteria. He calls it an autovaccine. Really. This from the man who has “decried vaccines for decades.” I guess it depends on what the meaning of vaccine is.
I’ve said before, please know where your closest oxidative physician is. If you are exposed to a childhood disease and become symptomatic, oxidation or high dose IV vitamin C could bring a quick resolution without complications. I am against vaccination. I would much rather treat an acute infection than the awful complications of vaccines. This includes the flu vaccine.
Treat self-limited diseases with rare complications and you will always have good results. All the complications mentioned in the essay are from mumps and not the vaccine, yet he concludes that it is the vaccines that have the side effects and should be avoided and you should embrace natural mumps, or influenza, and risk all the complications. Another Bizarro world essay from Medical Voices.
Man. Am I ever going to be torn to shreds with this one. Maybe next time I will write on a safer topic.
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*