This flu season there has been lots of talk in the mainstream press about how deadly the (H1N1) flu is, and therefore we must all get the (H1N1) flu vaccine(s). What a lot of people don’t know is that it is not always the swine flu itself that is killing people. The vast majority of the people who die from swine flu have high risk medical conditions. A small minority who die are young and healthy, but are these people actually dying from H1N1 or from something else?
As of September 2009, The CDC reported that 67% of the 36 children who died of swine flu in the US also had high risk medical conditions. Among 23 children with culture or pathology results reported, laboratory-confirmed bacterial coinfections were identified in 10 (43%), including all six children who were over 5 years old and had no recognized high-risk condition. In other words, all six of these healthy children died from bacterial pneumonia, not from the swine flu itself. Among the seven children aged under 5 years who died, two had a laboratory-confirmed bacterial coinfection; neither child had a high-risk medical condition. Three out of the 8 healthy children (37%) died from pneumonia caused by an MRSA coinfection.
What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The term is used to describe a number of strains of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, that are resistant to a number of antibiotics, including methicillin. Drug resistant forms of bacteria are also known as “superbugs.”
A 2008 article in Infection Control Today reports that “MRSA Caused Pneumonia Deaths During 2006-2007 in Young, Healthy People.” A high number of cases of pneumonia caused by staph infections resulted in death among young, otherwise healthy patients during the 2006-2007 flu season, with more than three-quarters caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
A meta-analysis of seventy-six studies published by the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy concludes that previous antibiotic exposure increases the risk of getting an MRSA infection. As of 2008, 85 percent of MRSA infections are healthcare associated. That means that 85 percent of MRSA infections are acquired in hospitals or healthcare facilities. An article in Dermatology Nursing links the spread of MRSA with inadequate hospital hygiene practices. For example, a 2006 study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection reveals that 38% of the research sample of health professionals failed to wash their hands after contact with MRSA patients.
To help determine the role of bacterial coinfection in the current influenza pandemic, CDC examined postmortem lung specimens from patients with fatal cases of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) for bacterial causes of pneumonia. During May 1–August 20, 2009, specimens were admitted to CDC from 77 U.S. patients with fatal cases of confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1). Bacterial coinfections were found in 30% of the patients. 9% of the patients examined had MRSA. Most recently, the Journal of Infection reports that a healthy male with H1N1 died from an MRSA coinfection.
MRSA is much more deadly than H1N1, but considering how serious it is, it is largely ignored by the mainstream media. In the UK in 2008, 1,230 people died from MRSA, compared to under 200 deaths from H1N1 this season. MRSA is even deadlier than AIDS! A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), linked MRSA infection to over 18,000 deaths in the US in 2005, compared to the 16,000 AIDS-related deaths recorded by the World Health Organization in the same year. Compare those figures with the 1,200 US swine flu deaths that have occurred this season. In Canada in 2006, MRSA was responsible for 2600 deaths, compared to only 198 deaths caused by swine flu this season.
Antibiotic resistant superbugs such as MRSA, VRE, and e. coli are on the rise. The culprit: overuse of antibiotics. Like all living things, bacteria adapt to the environment. Faced with an antibiotic, a few hearty bugs survive. Those superbugs then multiply, creating a new strain that the old antibiotic can’t touch. The more antibiotics used, the more the bacteria evolve.
Luckily, there are alternatives to antibiotics. Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine that can be used for coughs, colds, flus and fevers. If you have a weak immune system, consult a classical homeopath for constitutional treatment, which will strengthen your immune system naturally. Contact the clinic for more information about constitutional treatment.
To find out how flus can be treated effectively with homeopathy, read my recent blog post: Homeopathic Remedies for Flu
By Sonya McLeod
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