By Dr. Mercola
According to the featured report by US News Health1, a new influenza A variant strain of swine flu, H3N2v, has been identified in children and adults recently in direct contact with pigs at country fairs. The CDC case count of detected human infections in the US with the H3N2-variant currently stands at 154.2
Fortunately, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the virus is still principally limited to swine, and poses a very limited threat as it appears to spread to humans only with great difficulty, and appears to cause only mild disease when it does.
Influenza A viruses infect humans, swine and wild birds. Transmission of avian-origin influenza A viruses (H5N1 and H7N7) and swine origin influenza A viruses (H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2) between humans and animals does occur.
In August 2011, two cases of swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus infection were identified in two children under five years old in different states, and both had been given seasonal influenza vaccine in 2010 (which contained the pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus strain) and had had recent contact with pigs before they got sick.
According to the CDC3, the swine-origin H3N2 influenza virus the two young children became infected with last year was a new "reassortment" virus variant that contained "genes of the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus circulating in North American pigs since 1998 and the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus that might have been transmitted to pigs from humans during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic."
Six months later, the FDA selected the H3N2 influenza A virus strain to be one of the three strains included in this year's seasonal influenza vaccine, along with the pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus strain and an influenza B strain (B/Wisconsin1/2010-like virus). According to the US News Health media report:
"The reason the CDC is concerned about this particular virus is that it contains an element seen in the pandemic 2009 swine flu strain, H1N1, which may make it more likely for the virus to spread from person-to-person," US News Health reports.4
"All 29 cases were infected with strains of H3N2 'that contained the matrix (m) gene from the influenza A H1N1 pandemic virus,' Bresee explained. 'This 'm' gene may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans, compared with other variant influenzas viruses.'
In addition, the virus appears to have become more active recently, the CDC said. 'The virus was first detected in humans in July 2011, and since then there have been 29 total cases of H3N2 variant virus detected, including the 16 cases occurring in the last three weeks,' Bresee said.
...Each of the recent 16 cases were among people who had direct contact with pigs. In 15 cases, contact happened at a county fair... Fortunately, sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus hasn't happened yet, he added." [Emphasis mine]
According to this media report (which does not explain the discrepancy between a detection of "29 cases" with the detected "154 cases" the CDC is reporting), symptoms of the H3N2 flu are similar to seasonal flu. However it's well worth noting that not one of the recent 16 cases required hospitalization. And no deaths have resulted from it so far. Last year, three people with underlying disease did require hospitalization.
Since this strain is a pig virus, the CDC sensibly advises limiting your contact with swine, and avoiding all contact with sick swine. If you do have contact with swine, make sure you wash your hands, and do not eat or drink in the vicinity of the animals.
Why is This New Pig Virus in the 2012 Seasonal Flu Vaccine?
According to an August 13 press release by the US Food and Drug Administration5, the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine formulation for all six manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute the vaccines in the United States will contain the following formulation:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
- A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.
The big question is whether the mass use of H1N1 influenza vaccine in the U.S. in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 flu season somehow contributed to the reassortment of the swine-origin H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses to create the new variant H3N2 influenza viral infections detected in the past year. I don't have a solid answer to this question, but it's worth at least considering...
There are inactivated, injectable vaccines, and live virus, inhaled vaccine. Live viruses in vaccines are shed for a period of time in body fluids6, so live influenza vaccine strain viruses could theoretically recombine with other influenza viruses to create new variant versions.
Multiple Faux Pandemics "In the Works"?
This new swine variant virus isn't the only contender for the next pandemic. Just last month I wrote about renewed fears about the bird flu virus, H5N1 – yet another animal virus that doesn't easily spread among humans, but is feared to have the capability to mutate and give rise to a human pandemic.
While it's prudent to be aware that influenza viruses can be transmitted between animals and humans and a pandemic could occur, what we've repeatedly seen is that this slim possibility is massively over-sold, allowing drug companies to rake in billions of dollars for inadequately tested vaccines and other dangerous and/or ineffective anti-viral drugs.
In recent years we've seen a number of media hyped flu pandemics that never materialized. Sadly, each time a greater number of people ended up being harmed by the drugs and vaccines than died from the "pandemic" virus:
- The non-existent 1976 swine flu pandemic: In 1976 the U.S. acted out the first swine flu pandemic scare, devising a vaccine program in which 45 million people were vaccinated for a swine flu epidemic that never came. The hastily created mass vaccination program resulted in hundreds of Guillain-Barre Syndrome paralysis victims and 25 deaths for a flu pandemic that failed to materialize. Within a few months, claims totaling $1.3 billion had been filed by victims, who were permanently disabled from the vaccine, and more people died from the vaccine than from the virus itself.
- The 2005 bird flu hoax: Headlines warned the U.S. was facing a cataclysmic extermination event, with a calculated two million Americans succumbing to the bird flu. The best case scenario called for the death of 200,000 Americans. Then, as now, constant references to the tragedy of 1918 heightened the fear factor to a fever pitch, despite the fact that the scientific data did not support the aggressively hyped claims that instilled fear and panic in a lot of Americans.
The formula public health officials used to project the numbers of people who would die from the proposed 2005 bird flu pandemic as that they translated the minuscule number of deaths of bird handlers that had occurred worldwide into an impending extermination-level event from a virus that did not – and still does not – readily spread from birds to humans, nor between humans.
Most of the people who acquire bird-origin influenza virus infection were, and still are, bird handlers in continuous contact with sick birds. However, when it comes to keeping the public in constant fear of infectious diseases, often common sense is thrown out the window...
- Bird flu hoax repeats: In 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, media hyped warnings over the bird flu were repeatedly exposed as little more than orchestrated efforts to instill fear and line the pocketbooks of the pharmaceutical industry and various special interest groups connected with the pharmaceutical industry.
- The 2009 swine flu hoax: After four consecutive years of bird flu warnings that just refused to come to fruition, the H1N1 swine flu became front-page news again. This turned out to be yet another faux threat that cost tax payers billions of dollars, and in which fast tracked pandemic H1N1 vaccines were pushed on millions of people. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine was one of the most reactive flu vaccines ever created and, just like its 1976 predecessor, harmed far more people than the virus itself.
Remember? H1N1 Vaccine was Not Only Ineffective, But Unusually Dangerous...
As you may recall, the fast-tracked pandemic 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu vaccine turned out to be particularly reactive – far more reactive than previous seasonal flu vaccines. Will this season's trivalent flu vaccine – containing two swine origin influenza A viruses – pandemic H1N1 and H3N2 – usher in a repeat performance?
One of the most disturbing side effects of some of the marketed pandemic H1N1 vaccines was narcolepsy; a very rare and disabling neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. About 70 percent of narcolepsy cases also involve cataplexy – the sudden loss of voluntary muscle control – along with vivid hallucinations and total paralysis at the beginning or end of the narcoleptic attack.
The 2009 season was a perfect example of how dangerous it can be to blindly trust public health authorities and vaccine makers, and how badly things can go wrong. As you know, health authorities around the globe fiercely maintain that vaccines are safe, regardless of what's happening in the real world. Time and again, serious side effects from vaccines are overlooked and swept under the rug as being "coincidental."
In the case of the H1N1 pandemic vaccine, the adverse events were so serious, and so widespread that the tragic reality could not be ignored. There's no discussion about whether or not narcolepsy was caused by the vaccine; it's been proven to be a vaccine injury by experts in multiple countries.
For example, according to Swedish findings, children and adolescents vaccinated with Pandemrix during the 2009-10 season had a close to 660 percent increase in risk for narcolepsy! Finland also noticed a dramatic increase in the condition following vaccination with Pandemrix. There, an interim report issued in January of last year found that the H1N1 vaccine increased the risk of narcolepsy by a staggering 900 percent in children and adolescents below the age of 19.7 France, Germany and Norway also reported cases of the rare sleeping disorder, causing the EU to launch an investigation as well.
Why are Vaccines Capable of Causing Serious Reactions?
It is very clear that vaccines do not cause problems for everyone who receives them, but when they do, it can be an unmitigated disaster. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has identified a brilliant strategy to help assess children who may be at higher risk for developing side effects from vaccines of all kinds. In her extensive experience it is often related to poor gut flora, which is typically transferred from the mother who was compromised due to an unbalanced diet, antibiotics and/or birth control pills. She maintains that children with compromised gut flora are at the highest risk for developing these infections and can often suffer neurological damage.
Dr. Campbell-McBride suggests there are simple tests that can be done to evaluate whether a child has compromised gut flora or other risk factors BEFORE they are vaccinated. If they are at risk, then a comprehensive protocol may help reverse the problem before any vaccines are administered. This is all carefully described in her wonderful book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
However, there is no guarantee that if you follow these guidelines or others attempting to minimize vaccine risks, that a vaccine reaction, injury or death will not occur. It is always important to remember that vaccines are pharmaceutical products, which carry risks that can be greater for some than others for many reasons, including genetic and biological high risk factors that have not been identified yet.
Total Video Length: 1:13:21
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Evidence Shows Flu Shots Simply Don't Work
Flu vaccinations keep coming up short in study after study – way short – when it comes to having any measurable impact on what matters most, which is reducing illness and mortality from the flu. Here are several other examples providing evidence that flu vaccines may not prevent influenza or influenza-related complications leading to death, like pneumonia, in ANY age group:
- A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine8 found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.
- A 2008 study published in the Lancet9 found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. This also supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine10.
- Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine11 also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
- In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases:12
"We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality, have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits."
- A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews13 in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children under 2. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
Be Aware: Vaccine Makers are Immune Against Lawsuits from Vaccine Damage
As many of you already know, in 1986 Congress gave vaccine manufacturers partial liability protection from vaccine injury lawsuits. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 created a no-fault federal vaccine injury compensation program as an alternative to a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers and pediatricians when vaccines injure or cause the death of a person.
At the time of the law's creation in 1986, Congress said they were committed to setting up a fair, expedited, non-adversarial, less traumatic, less expensive no-fault compensation mechanism alternative to civil litigation. At the insistence of parents of DPT vaccine injured children, who founded the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) in 1982, Congress also acknowledged that any legislation providing liability protection for drug companies and pediatricians must also be equally committed to preventing vaccine harm.
The 1986 law contains strong safety provisions, including first-time mandates for doctors and all vaccine providers to record in the medical record and report serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths after vaccination to the government and give parents written benefit and risk information before a child or adult is vaccinated.
But few of the safety provisions have been enforced and obtaining compensation has become a highly adversarial, time-consuming, traumatic and expensive process for families of vaccine injured children. Far too many vaccine victims have been denied compensation. Meanwhile, vaccine makers and doctors have enjoyed liability protection.
To add insult to injury, last year the U.S. Supreme Court called vaccines "unavoidably unsafe" and gave drug companies total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government mandated vaccines. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) called the decision a "betrayal" of the American consumer.
In a 6-2 decision, the Court majority voted to reject substantial evidence that the 1986 law was fully intended to protect an American's right to sue a pharmaceutical corporation for injuries that could have been prevented if the company had elected to make a safer vaccine. Now, the Supreme Court has left anyone who gets injured by a flu vaccine or any other vaccine with no way to hold drug companies accountable in front of a jury in a U.S. court of law, and facing a long shot at receiving federal compensation for any vaccine injuries suffered.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court decision removes all financial incentive for multi-national drug corporations making big profits in the huge U.S. market to make vaccines as safe as they can be!
However, there is still a federal requirement in the 1986 law that doctors and all vaccine providers must warn EVERYONE choosing to get vaccinated of the dangers of the vaccine before they receive it. This is informed consent. You have a right to know the potential risks you or your minor child are taking with a medical intervention or use of a pharmaceutical product and the right to make an informed and voluntary choice about whether or not to take the risk.
What You Need to Know about Informed Consent
Informed consent is especially important when it comes to vaccination because no one can predict whether you or your child will be one of the children who has a devastating vaccine reaction, such as brain inflammation, paralysis, immune dysregulation, permanent brain damage, or even death. Furthermore, doctors have been notoriously lax when it comes to providing patients with full disclosure of potential side effects.
All Americans should know that if your doctor does not provide the CDC Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) sheet, or directly discuss the potential symptoms of side effects of the vaccination you or your child is about to receive BEFORE vaccination takes place, it is a violation of federal law.
Remember, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires doctors and other vaccine providers to:
- Give written vaccine benefit and risk information to the person or guardian of the person before vaccination takes place (and, ethically, a doctor should be willing to discuss and answer all questions the patient or parent has about vaccination)
- Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given and the manufacturer's name and lot number
- Enter serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination in the patient's permanent medical record
- File an official report of all serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
If a vaccine provider fails to inform, record or report, it is a violation of federal law, and I would encourage anyone who is injured from a vaccine, who did not receive the proper warnings, to use the legal system to hold the physician responsible.
Understand the Risks You Take Before You Take Them...
If you want a clear illustration of what could happen to you or someone you love as a result of a flu vaccine, take a look at this video profile of a former professor of nursing, who was left completely disabled after a seasonal flu shot. This is a risk every single person should be aware of prior to making the decision to get a flu shot.
How to Protect Yourself Against Influenza
So the question is, why do we continue doing something that has been proven ineffective and risky? As Eisnstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
This certainly could be said to apply to the practice of getting a flu shot every year and expecting to be protected against the flu without taking a health risk.
While the media is sure to continue hyping potential pandemic influenzas, remember that a healthy immune system is your best and primary defense against any viral threat. The following simple guidelines will help you keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire influenza or other respiratory infections to begin with or, if you do, your immune system will deal with it without complications:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I've previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
An inexpensive option to get your vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis is to join the GrassrootsHealth D*action Project.
- Avoid Sugar, Fructose and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.
- Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
- Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
- Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.
- Take a Good Source of High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Remember that antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and cause more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend avoiding hospitals unless you're having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to any new bug. Also keep in mind that virtually all vaccinations will reduce the effective functioning of your immune system, NOT make it stronger!