The influenza division of Herscu Laboratory, a 501(c)(3) non-profit multi-disciplinary medical research laboratory, presents this resource for timely updates on current epidemics (influenza or otherwise). Be sure to sign up at bottom of this blog to receive notice of new postings directly via email. Or follow @PaulHerscu on Twitter.
Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic January 2016 Update Paul Herscu, ND, MPH Herscu Laboratory
We have just passed over a milestone that I want to
highlight, to place the discussion about Zika virus in a very important
context. We have just had a twelfth case of Zika virus infection diagnosed in
the USA. This number is significant to me, since it is exactly one more patient
than the total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) patients to have hit USA
soil from the Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak in Western Africa. That number includes
those who developed EVD in Africa and were transported here and those who fell
ill from human transmission inside the USA.
I believe it is of upmost importance to place any discussion
of Zika virus infection within an EVD context for a variety of reasons. When I
commented on EVD, both in this Blog
and in the Webinar I presented on Viruses, I made some very strong comments and
predictions. These were based on tracking viral infection outbreaks and
epidemics around the worlds for several decades.
One point I highlighted was as we look at the history of our
species and its effect on other species on this planet one thing becomes clear.
As we have explored, conquered, inhabited and thrived in a variety of
environments around the planet, when we found a species that was large-toothed,
venomous, and scary, we would try to destroy it, driving the species towards
extinction. We feel more comfortable when they are not threatening us. Right or
wrong this is what we have done. And as we have begun to feel more comfortable
in our surroundings, we began to look more closely at what may be the new scary
things to our species–germs, bacteria and viruses. And as our technology has gotten
better, cheaper, more accurate and specific, we are better able to isolate an
ever-increasing diverse microcosm, both outside and inside of our bodies. In
short, we have relearned that we are not alone. And again, reflexively, we are
frightened. An added fear is the continued realization that an ever-larger
number of bacteria become scarier as we encourage their evolution with and
toward antibiotic resistance.
Well, it is my birthday today and I decided
to treat myself to the birthday gift of writing this update. I am going to keep
this short. Back in September, and again in October I wrote that by May 2015 we
are going to have Ebola free countries in West Africa, assuming that there are
no major cuts in funding. Elsewhere, in webinars on epidemics, I highlighted
the different treatment protocols in the different countries, and that all
things being equal some countries are going to fare better than other countries.
The bottom line though was that by the start of 2015 the disease would become
localized and that with all resources effectively brought to bear, Guinea
should be clear except for some localized areas and Liberia would be Ebola free
sometime in May. Well, if my math is right, by
the end of the week, Liberia will be announced as being Ebola free,
crossing our fingers still. This leaves two countries with local outbreaks.
I hope all is well with you and yours. This is a quick note about the current upper respiratory tract infections in North America and Europe.
Without getting into a very long description, and without describing the full case of constitutional homeopathy, case taking, case analysis, etc., it seems as though the current genus epidemicus is Lycopodium.
This is regardless of the actual bug. I have seen the very young with right sided otitis media, teenagers with right sided sore throats, middle aged people with bronchitis and influenza, and older folks with bronchitis. In each case the patient was either someone who needed Lycopodium constitutionally and got sick while staying in their constitution, or else someone who went into a Lycopodium acute.
I am sending this quick note because as a rule most of their complaints were not obviously pointing to this remedy. Therefore, I am sending this to just ask you to take a look at the remedy as a possibility, if you are either confused by the case, or if things are not progressing as they should. I am aware that historically, homeopaths considered the genus epidemicus for just one bug at one time. Again, my goal is not to discuss this topic here, as it is too lengthy, but just to highlight this remedy.
PANIC! WE’RE NEARLY THERE (FOR THE DEVELOPED WORLD, AT LEAST)
I would like to begin with the main points. First, it should become
clearer that neither North America, nor Europe nor the majority of Africa will
have an epidemic of EVD, so that chatter will stop. Second, it should shortly
become obvious to everyone that the viral transmission has not become airborne,
and that confusion will stop as well. And third, it’s becoming clearer that the
reasons things got so bad in the first place have to do with poor health care
infrastructure, rather than the virus itself. Sadly this widespread problem is
deep and wide and will need our attention for years to come.
Many countries are negotiating around quarantine versus isolation
versus quarantine in place versus revoking travel permits. This is true in
Africa where many countries have forbidden travel into their countries for
those arriving from impacted countries; Australia took the most extreme version
similar to the advice I last posted, i.e., no one from an effected country
allowed in unless they have completed a 21 day quarantine in the country of
origin.In the USA the military has
taken a similar approach and in our civil society there has been much debate
and evolution of rules. What is clear is that as the majority of ban of travel
is in force around the world, travel on
public transportation and in public areas is now forbidden in most every
place, and given the timing of developing the infection and given the vigilance
in place, I now consider this potential epidemic over for most of the
We have a physician living in New York testing positive for Ebolavirus
Disease (EVD) after doing great, important, inspiring work in Africa. The fear this
brings up in New York makes me write sooner than later. In short, even in New
York, DON’T PANIC.It is incredibly
unlikely that you will ever meet anyone who had EVD or that you will catch it.
I have had requests, for a few months now, to discuss the homeopathic
management of Ebolavirus Disease. And what may seem odd is that while I have written
about treatments over the past decades,
discussing very specific remedies at different stages of epidemic diseases, I
have not done so this time around. You may wonder why? And since I know that folks
at the CDC read this, I thought I would elaborate and make further suggestions
When you turn on the news just
now, there is a great deal of media attention on the Ebolavirus outbreak. And
as importantly, there is a sort of hysteria in the general public, as well as
in the healthcare community, including those in CAM. In this recent Kaiser poll
about half of all Americans believe their family is at risk of contracting
Ebola. ( http://tinyurl.com/ol6xr57)
Let me say here clearly, that
unless something unusual occurs such as 1) a change in the transmission mode,
as in it becoming airborne (which is a difficult thing to happen and despite
what some at CDC and in the government have said, has absolutely NOT happened.
Ebolavirus has not become airborne. They are wrong here, but will explain their
mistake in the next post), 2) a change in vectors, as in animals that have yet
to transmit to humans, and/or 3) a change in incubation time, as in a
lengthening of incubation time while still being contagious (which both may be difficult to occur at the
same time), there
will NOT be an epidemic in the USA, in North America, or in Europe. Nor will
there be a greatly widening epidemic within Africa itself. And as shocking as
it seems to you just now, the average person will hardly, sadly, think about it
by the end of the year. I have tried to say this in a variety of ways, but I
thought I would say it again here. In essence people are worrying about the
wrong thing, the wrong epidemic, the wrong focus. I hope that by reading these communiqués,
you will be better prepared to handle the media, assess the information you
hear, and not become overly anxious because of hyped up media offerings. As
promised, I wanted to discuss treatments that occur at this time.
As mentioned in the first
post, aside from treatment aimed at supportive care, we have at least two major
pathways for treatment—antivirals and plasma products.
While no drug is yet approved, there are a host of medications being tested.
It has been 2 weeks since I posted
September Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak, comments and outlook; a great deal has
taken place since then. If you have not already read the original post, please
take time to read as this update elaborates upon that original post.
My central goal in presenting these
comments and outlooks is to create a framework that allows future information
to be properly analyzed and placed within a realistic context. In so doing, it
allows us to better predict future events. In short, having a structure enables
future findings, future investigations, and thereby future actions to more
appropriately match needs on the ground. We have had a case spread in the USA
and a case spread in Spain. However, by clearly understanding the situation, we
can limit anxiety for everyone, while we create a pathway for action. So, with
that in mind, let’s dive into where we are as of now, working off of my
original post, taking topic areas one at a time, and seeing how more or less we
are right on target.