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.
January 22, 2019 Paul Herscu ND, MPH
Well, this is turning
out to be an extremely busy winter season! There are several influenza-like-illnesses,
as well as influenza, currently raging through the US and Europe. This is just
a short update, building on many previous pieces written on this topic. I write
here with an assumption that you understand the topic of the genus
epidemicus (see Herscu Letters #33-38 to review the topic of the genus epidemicus,) the
difference between acute and chronic prescribing at any given time in your
patient, and of course that you know how to keep your patients safe.
Currently, there are
several common presentations:
Part II: October 31, 2018 Paul Herscu ND, MPH Herscu Laboratory
As we posted in early October, we are in the middle of an early season viral infection that is presenting in all aged patients. Much remains the same from our prior update but we are also seeing an additional remedy emerge. Below are the full details of what we are currently seeing, so that you do not need to refer back to the prior post.
This information comes from what we’ve seen in our clinic to date, as
well as what we’ve heard from colleagues from Asia and parts east, from
where many of our flu strains arrive.
Part 2. January 4, 2018 Paul Herscu ND, MPH Herscu Laboratory
A Country Divided
No. Not that way. I am describing the 2017-2018 viral season
situation as it seems to be unfolding now. Early on, we saw many patients
presenting needing Gelsemium, and
then later in the season people presented with Lycopodium symptoms. And really, when looking at the end of 2017,
it will be marked by a record number of patients presenting with Lycopodium symptoms and doing well with
the remedy. In 36 years, I had never seen those sorts of numbers.
I will describe, briefly, where we are now. While many
people are still presenting needing Lycopodium,
there are a number of presentations now in different people, happening at the
same time, which is where this title comes from. In North America, as well as
Europe, there are several viruses happily infecting us, but also the weather is
different than it was previously, and this combination has led to different presentations.
And while we still follow all the rules described elsewhere on prescribing
properly, including when to give the constitutional remedy as opposed to any of
these listed, if the rules apply, here are remedies to think about.
Michael Norden MD Paul Herscu ND, MPH Herscu Laboratory
emergence of superbugs, resistant to
essentially all drugs, threatens to return us to the horrors of the
pre-antibiotic era, where countless people died from common infections. The
answer to this crisis may eventually come from advances in biotechnology, which
ironically helped create the problem to begin with, but until that day, we
would like to propose an ancient approach as a potential answer. Here, I
condense a 4-year conversation I have had with my friend Michael Norden MD,
involving copper, which reflects part of my 40-year interest in this element.
What follows are our thoughts on using copper as a passive yet potent
Some of the most
exciting aspects of living in these times are the rapid discoveries occurring
in science, related to our habitat in the natural world and especially on the
cellular and subcellular level. As we are discovering more and more types of
germs, we are having to come to terms with the implications of our discoveries.
There are more types of germs than we ever imagined; the germs that surround us
and are in us determine to a significant extent, our health. Regarding
prevention, the concept of developing an individual vaccine for a specific germ
soon becomes unwieldy, as it seems impractical to vaccinate ourselves against
hundreds or thousands of potentially pathogenic bugs. Even the common influenza
vaccine sometimes fails us. For example, this year, vaccine manufacturers predicted
incorrectly and the vaccine developed appears to be only 10 to 20% effective.
Regarding treatment, we have learned that we can not simply kill infectious
agents, because germs adapt to become more virulent. The rapid and ubiquitous
use of antimicrobials has led to superbugs
threatening our therapeutic efficacy and creating dire challenges to our
species. We often lose the battle with germs that perhaps we should not be
fighting in the current manner in first place. Instead of active antimicrobial
use, and instead of prevention solely by developing a specific vaccine for each
germ, we may need to develop a third wave of thought, one focusing on passive
antimicrobial coatings that do not create superbugs,
which is where copper stands as one possibility.
The EPA has now
certified over 400 alloys as “antimicrobial copper.” Certification allows the
claim of 99.9% of bacteria will be killed within 2 hours. Published studies show this efficacy against all types of pathologic microbes including resistant
bacteria such as MRSA as well as many viruses and fungi. Microorganisms testedsuccumb to the copper effect.
Influenza Like Illness, Winter 2017 Part 1. December 8, 2017 Paul Herscu ND, MPH Herscu Laboratory
Here we are
at the start of December. I have been treating what I believe are two separate
viral infection presentations, epidemic at this time, in patients from Florida
to Montreal, from Seattle to San Diego and many places in between. The first,
which I am not discussing here is a simple, though severe gastroenteritis,
characterized by nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea, ending with watery
discharge from the bowels.
I want to focus
on an unusual presentation of upper respiratory tract infections. During these URI
infections, I see: A. Adult
patients develop severe sore throats and laryngitis, with pain in the throat worse
patients with sinus infections leading to ear infections and a sensation of ear
and young children with common symptoms of high fever, flushed face, listlessness,
most unusual aspect is seen in the over 60 population. Oddly and surprisingly,
numerous patients develop a URI which take an odd turn: they develop symptoms
of asthma. The asthma is characterized by incessant cough, ending with in a
wheeze, audible by stethoscope or even without, when severe. Others say they
inhale as usual, but find it difficult to exhale properly.
symptoms are atypical to these patients. They have told me that these are the
symptoms they recall from an asthmatic child or grandchild, but they have no
history of asthma themselves.
Zika Virus Disease
And Targeted Vector Control ‘The Future is Already Here — Just Not Evenly
This article addresses only one aspect of prevention of Zika
virus caused disease; it is the fifth in a series. For previous writings on the
subject and to contextualize this writing, please refer to my blog.
I had previously written
on the vector control benefits of attempting ‘functional’ extinction of the Aedes
aegypti species that likely carries Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Chikungunya,
and Zika virus, illnesses that lead to morbidity or mortality in the many
thousands every year. The arguments were many, but the main point was that Zika
virus was absolutely going to impact the health of Americans via local
transmission and that many would suffer needlessly. I went on to urge that the
time was right for the planned ‘functional’ extinction of Aedes aegypti
but at this point that approach would no longer be sufficient. As expected, we
have since seen the first infant death
in the U.S., due to Zika virus and have the first U.S. birth of a child with
Zika virus caused microcephaly. More that 2,722 people in the U.S. have been
infected, with 35 from local transmission, according to the CDC Case Counts
in the U.S. Sadly, more will likely follow.