Depending on your source material, anywhere from 20 to 100 million people died in 1918 during the pandemic known as the Spanish Flu. Prior to this outbreak, it was common for influenza outbreaks to be fatal in the young, weak and elderly. But in 1918, men between 20 and 40 years of age were the most common victims. Men were dying at a rate 35% greater than women. The exact numbers are unknown because the statistics keep changing. In 1999 the Center for Disease Control claimed that reported deaths for the 1918 pandemic were 20 million. By 2005, the CDC had adjusted that number to 50 million.
November 1918 -- World War I ends
The Spanish Flu didn't happen in a vacuum. In it's context, World War I ended in November of that year. At the time, this was thought to be the war to end all wars. Shortages of fresh food and clean water were felt throughout the world. This led to widespread immunocompromise (compromise of the immune system) due to malnutrition. In addition, these shortages combined with world events contributed to poor hygiene and emotional stress.
But that wasn't the only thing that was testing the limits of human immune responses. Men were returning home from war having been exposed to various chemicals and pre-deployment vaccines. Men entering the military were given smallpox and yellow fever vaccinations and possibly a few additional vaccines. These soldiers were in the same age range as those who died at a greater rate from the Spanish Flu.
1955 -- Polio Vaccine Campaign
1957 -- Asian Flu
In 1955 there was a campaign to encourage the U.S. population to be vaccinated with the polio vaccine. The Asian Flu outbreak occurred after this in 1957. Military service men received all of these vaccines and more.
By 1968, during the Vietnam War, military troops were receiving all of these and an experimental plague vaccine. This was just before the pandemic called the Hong Kong Flu (1968-1969).
1968 - 1969 -- Hong Kong Flu
The Hong Kong Flu proved to spread slowly and have low mortality everywhere EXCEPT in the United States, where immunization drives were held regularly. The elderly were most affected. This influenza caused nearly 34,000 deaths, mostly in the elderly.
1976 -- Swine Flu
In response to a death due to the Swine Flu the previous year, the CDC called for the United States population to undergo a mass immunization to avoid a widespread outbreak. President Ford addressed the American people on March 24, 1976 to announce a National Influenza Immunization Program. Within two weeks of the launch of this program, 33 persons that had received the vaccine had died. To calm fears, the President and his family received flu shots on national television October 14, 1976. Doctors and patients alike were having second thoughts. Six weeks later, the program was suspended.
1978 -- Nationwide Immunization Campaign
Individual states passed legislation requiring proof of immunization in order for children as young as 5 and 6 years of age to enter the United States public school system.
For more detailed information on the history of pandemics and immunizations, read the book FOWL! Bird Flu: It's Not What You Think , by Dr. Sherri J. Tennpenny © 2006 (ISBN-13: 978-0-9743448-3-6).
DOES THIS MEAN THAT IMMUNIZATIONS CAUSE PANDEMICS?
No, but immunizations DO have an effect on the immune system. There is disagreement among doctors on what exactly this effect is and whether or not it leaves a person at greater risk for infection. At the end of this blog entry is a video which discusses the use of vaccines to fight disease.
OTHER IMMUNE SYSTEM INFLUENCES
Our food and water supplies have been undergoing many changes. Foods contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals are now standard fare in grocery stores. Private whole food sources are now being eliminated by cumbersome legislation. In some states, it is illegal to sell raw milk from a private source. Additionally, private ownership of stock animals for profit, sale of garden produce by non-industrial farms, and plants that have been exposed to pollination by genetically modified plants are subject to aggressive law suits to keep them out of the food supply or government regulations that make private farms difficult or impossible to run profitably.
To the consumer, the net result of these attempts by industry to eliminate the local competition means that opportunities to purchase natural, organic whole foods are fewer. The 'trace' amounts of 'harmless' chemicals that enter the population are contributing to various levels of immune inflammatory response. This heightened immune response over time stresses the human system and leaves it more vulnerable to a viral attack.
Here's a video on what happened to a farm family that tried to help their neighbors get low-cost organic foods.
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT PANDEMIC PATHOLOGY
Pandemics which are deadly seem to generate an accelerated immune response. In those who die, the disease progresses rapidly to pneumonia. The victim basically drowns in the mucus which coats the lungs. The mucus production is a response from an over-stimulated immune system.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET THE FLU
According to an article by Jon Barron, (The Cost of a Strong Immune System) the strong immune response of a healthy person to an aggressive virulent attack will exact too great a cost on the human body and kill with it's overreaction.
"The bottom line is yes, you want your immune system to respond strongly to any pathogens -- but not too strongly. If it responds too strongly, the costs can outweigh the benefits. An overactive immune system can lead to:
* Sustained systemic inflammation
* Autoimmune disorders
* Overactive responses to allergens
* Even death, as in the case of avian flu"
This article recommends that efforts to boost immune response be scaled back during illness while applications that attack the pathogen (antipathogens) be increased. This helps reduce the need for a vigorous immune response.
"If you can tone down the strength of the pathogenic attack, then a strong immune system works in your favor -- finishing off the invading little buggers as quickly as possible, but without the need to drain down your reserves. But if you don't ratchet down the strength of the attack, your immune system actually works against you -- causing chronic inflammation, immune system disorders, overactive allergy responses, or as in the case of avian flu, potentially killing you."
Here is a video about health considerations regarding immunization. Experts address how vaccinations affect the immune system.
Vaccination, The Hidden Truth
FOR FURTHER READING:
Here's a link to an article regarding the current Swine Flu outbreak by Dr. Mercola:
Swine Flu Pandemic -- Fact or Fiction?, Dr. Mercola