Naturally Nicole’s Elderberry Flu Treatment Debunked (Part 2)

naturally nicole elderberry syrup

What the heck is “evidence based” proof? Is there another kind?

In part one of this series,1 we began the arduous task of tearing apart an internet snake oil saleswoman going by the moniker “Naturally Nicole.”  Nicole’s claim to fame is selling an unproven Elderberry syrup as a flu medication.2  This alone would be cause for eye rolls and muffled giggles from anyone who’s worked in a pharmacy, but things take a darker turn as Ms. Au Naturale goes on to lambast the safe, #1 recommended preventative for a disease that has so far claimed nearly 100 lives at this writing:3 the flu shot.

Just a quick recap of part one, where we looked at two of three Elderberry fantasy claims:  First, Nicole lied to her audience, saying that a study was performed on human–when it was actually done in test tubes and petri dishes.  She also references a junk science paper whose abstract claimed results that actually came from another study–not the one described.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Nicole’s second claim was that the flu vaccine was dangerous and ineffective, when in fact the very study she referenced said vaccination was the most effective way to combat influenza.  While the efficacy of the flu vaccine does vary from year to year, 2018’s rate of 36% is better than Nicole’s elderberry rate of 0%.  You do the math.

So now, without further ado, we move on to the conclusion of this series, taking on the third of Nicole’s perjurious claims:

Claim #3
A 93.3% improvement in symptoms in 2 days for elderberry-treated patients vs 91.7% in the control group, and a complete cure rate of nearly 90% in 2 days vs. 6 days in the control group.

Rule #1 for citing a paper as evidence would seem to be: read the damn paper.  I can’t prove the Duchess of Elderberry skipped her reading assignment, but I strongly suspect it, based on the fact the study she quoted is hidden behind a $51/copy pay wall, and she claims the paper looked at patients suffering from a flu outbreak on a kibbutz in the country of Panama.

In reality, the patients studied were in Israel, and the strain of flu virus under investigation was a strain of Influenza B named B. Panama. Nicole’s first clue should have been that kibbutzim are technically unique to Israel.

the outbreak wasn't in panama

From Nicole’s article.  No. Just no.  The outbreak occurred in Israel. The virus was named Influenza B. Panama. Read the damn paper Nicole!

When you don’t even bother to read the abstract Nicole, you’re off to a bad start.  However, I dropped $51 on this pay-per-view Elderberry Extravaganza, and Naturally Nicole would have done herself a great service had she done the same.

You’re welcome:

image

The paper that Nicole didn’t read. When research is hidden behind paywalls, it’s easy to cherry-pick and misquote, even when it disagrees with you.

Most conspicuous in the paper cited by Naturally Nicole is what it doesn’t say.  Presented are nine pages of details on a study that produced a 40% two day “total cure” rate, complete with graphs and exquisite detail on methodology.  However, in the abstract, we find a “significant improvement in symptoms (93.3%)”.  Where did this number come from?  Not from the science described in the nine pages!  Buried on page 367 (this comes from an alternative health journal with many articles) are two small paragraphs mentioning, almost as an afterthought, a separate study involving twenty-seven patients.  Our 93.3% number comes from a different study.   Deus ex machina.5

Meanwhile, Back on the Kibbutz…
Meanwhile, back in the medical literature Naturally Nicole never laid eyes upon, on page 363 of Vol 1, #4, 1995 of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the authors discuss a double-blind study involving 40 individuals living on a kibbutz in Southern Israel. They had fevers, runny noses, body aches, and coughs. Blood was drawn and statistical analysis performed using influenza antigens provided by the World Health Organization to decide whether these 40 patients actually had the flu.

Time went by. Corn grew higher and the wind came sweeping down the plain. Patients were treated with elderberry extract. Then something not so incredible happened…

Forty percent of the patients were determined “completely cured” within two days.

“Complete cure was observed after 2 days in 40% of patients treated with SAM and 16.7% treated with placebo.” — J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4)p.366 (emphasis mine)

But wait! Incredibly, even though a “complete cure” was claimed within two days, page 365 reports that fever persisted for four days in the group being treated with elderberry syrup. Explain to me, please, how you’re completely cured in two days if your fever runs for four?

And, very important: how long had the flu sufferers already been infected before they presented themselves for the study?  It’s easy to claim a total cure in two days if you’ve already been sick for five to twelve before you present yourself for the study (the flu normally runs its course in one two two weeks).

Oh, By the Way…
It’s interesting to note (but doesn’t affect the results of the study) that the lead author of the paper reviewed here is the pro-vaccine author of Nicole’s second study: Professor Zichria Zakay-Rones. He’s the Chief Science officer of Theravir Management Ltd., a biotech startup company that develops vaccines.6 I mention this only to point out that the scientists who wrote the papers enshrined by Nicole are not as vehemently anti-vaccine as she is.

So we’re left with three papers whose bodies don’t at all support what’s claimed in the abstract, and, in one case, openly lie about it. They’re presented by a fervent anti-vaccination advocate who somehow didn’t notice (or care) that the lead author of two of the papers is the chief science officer of a company that produces vaccines, and openly advocates vaccines as the best defense against the flu in one of the studies she uses to sell her products.

The last paper cited by our saleswoman came out nearly fifteen years ago. As serious a problem as influenza is, are we to believe major pharmaceutical companies are looking a gift horse cure in the mouth and rejecting it?  Sorry, I’m a bit skeptical.

Last but not least: Nicole, B. Panama is a virus, not the country Israel where a medical study was performed.  Please, the next time you quote a study to prop up your product sales, please and least read the abstract–and consult Google Maps first!

Image Credits
Map courtesy of and ©2018 Google Maps.  Used under terms of service provided via link attached to map.

Naturally Nicole screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Photograph of partially visible pages of “Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama” is presented as proof the author actually purchased the article.  As provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law, small portions or extracts of a copyrighted work may be used for purposes of citation and review.

References
(1) Naturally Nicole’s Elderberry Flu Treatment Debunked (Part 1)
https://badsciencedebunked.com/2015/10/21/naturally-nicoles-elderberry-flu-treatment-debunked-part-1/
Retrieved 18 Feb 2018

(2) Evidence Based Proof, Elderberry Syrup Is Better Than The Flu Shot
From Internet Archive
https://web.archive.org/web/20160205185840/http://naturallynicolexo.com/evidence-based-proof-elderberry-syrup-is-better-than-the-flu-shot/
(Author has moved/deleted post)  Archived 02 Oct 2015
Retrieved 20 Feb 2018

(3) Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report (CDC)
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
Retrieved 20 Feb 2018

(4) Interim Estimates of 2017–18 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, February 2018
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6706a2.htm
Retrieved 20 Feb 2018

(5) Deus ex machine (Merriam-Webster Definition)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deus%20ex%20machina
Retrieved 19 Feb 2018

(6)  Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama.
J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
Zakay-Rones Z1, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, Mumcuoglu M.
Article hidden behind paywall.  Purchased October, 2015.

(6) Zakay-Rones Profile (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=30559942&privcapId=6085242&previousCapId=6085242&previousTitle=Theravir%20Management%20Ltd.

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Naturally Nicole’s Elderberry Flu Treatment Debunked (part 1)

naturally nicole elderberry syrup

What the heck is “evidence based” proof? Is there another kind?

So many snake oil peddlers, so little time.

In “Evidence Based Proof Elderberry Syrup Is Better Than The Flu Shot”,1 Facebook saleswoman “Naturally Nicole” offers up more misinformation on the flu shot than can possibly be debunked in one sitting.  In the interest of time, I’ll take on two of the three “scientific studies” she cites to support her flu cure, then come back for more in future articles.

Fasten your seat belts; make sure your tray tables are in a locked and upright position. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Claim #1
An extract of black elderberries has natural antiviral properties in vitro, and reduced flu symptoms in 3-4 days2

We have an epic failure right off the bat.  In layman’s terms, in vitro means the study was performed in a glass test tube or petri dish, not a live human.  So how did the elderberry extract reduce flu symptoms in humans?

Answer: it didn’t.  This study wasn’t performed on humans, and Nicole & the abstract essentially tell a bald-faced lie.  Here’s what happened:

Nicole starts you off with this abstract2 which describes a study performed courtesy of twelve volunteers who donated blood that was treated with elderberry extract in vitro.  The humans didn’t have the flu.  They didn’t have symptoms.  The test was simply to determine if the elderberry triggered an immune response in the extracted cells.  If you don’t read the paper behind the abstract, you never learn this vital fact.

It’s only when you read the full text of the study3 that you see the abstract’s reference to a reduction in symptoms isn’t for the study actually being done.   This mysterious second paper and the reduction in symptoms in humans is never even mentioned anywhere but the abstract.  I have to repeat myself, because it’s so important: the study cited by Nicole never tested a single flu patient, yet she and the abstract claim it reduced symptoms in humans in 3-4 days.  Pretty amazing since it was an in vitro test only! (wink wink, nudge nudge.)

I’ve laid it out graphically for you below, and you can follow the results yourself via the hyperlinks in the article to see for yourself how you’re being misled:

bait and switch study

Figures lie and liars figure.  The study cited by Nicole didn’t actually test patients who had the flu, even though it seems to claim a reduction in symptoms. It slyly refers to ANOTHER study in the abstract.  You have to actually read the paper to figure this out.  Nicole makes a false claim because of this.   (click/enlarge)

 

As for in vitro testing… that’s a necessary first step, but pushing it as a “cure” as Nicole does is dishonest.  My wife and I have a great in vitro germ killer under the kitchen sink:

an in vitro germ killer another in vitro germ killer

 

Claim #2
A “complete cure” was achieved in 2-3 days in 90% of patients receiving elderberry syrup.4

At least we’ve switched to live humans (an in vivo study).

I think the most damning indictment of Nicole comes on the second page of the study that this vehement anti-vaxxer once again apparently didn’t take the time to read:

“Vaccinating those at high risk of influenza-related complications before the influenza season each year is the most effective and most commonly used ways [sic] of reducing the impact of influenza.” 4

That’s right. The very paper Nicole cites recommends the flu vaccine as the most effective way of combating influenza.  (This is going to come back to haunt her, because the lead author of this study is also the lead author of the third paper she uses to prop up her product.  You’ll never guess what he does for a living!)

So how was this study conducted?  Did doctors do something objective, like, I don’t know… record the patients’ temperatures every day?  Maybe some bloodwork?

No.  Test subjects were asked to record in a diary how they felt.  How well did they sleep?  Were they coughing more or less?

I’m not making this up.4

from the study

(From the paper) That’s it?  Couldn’t you go even to the trouble of taking their temperature?

Look, I get it: you can’t measure a body ache.  But checking for a fever?  And Nicole glosses over some facts.  Twelve of the patients receiving the elderberry syrup (almost half!) needed a rescue medication during the study, because the syrup wasn’t working for them.  It’s true that those in the control group (receiving a placebo) needed the rescue meds at a higher frequency, and recovered somewhat more slowly.  But some recovered completely with no elderberry syrup at all, just as fast as those receiving the syrup.  So what can you conclude?  Well, the authors thought maybe they had something, maybe not, and said:

“These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study” 4

Nicole seems to have missed all of this.

 

OPUS2

 

Coming Up Next Time
In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at Nicole’s third study, a “switcheroo” piece that would have made Harry Houdini proud.  Our Doctor of Syrup quotes from the abstract of a $51 per-view paper hidden behind a paywall–a paper that has some hidden surprises in it.

A paper Nicole very clearly didn’t read.  It looks like this:

image

Coming up in part two of this series: why it’s always a good idea to read the papers you cite.

 

Image Credits
Naturally Nicole screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Bloom County/Opus image is used within parody constraints of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Obfuscated image in closing sequence of “Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama.  J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9. Zakay-Rones Z1, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, Mumcuoglu M.” used to provide commentary, review, and increase public health knowledge as provided under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”).

 

References
(1) Evidence Based Proof, Elderberry Syrup Is Better Than The Flu Shot
http://naturallynicolexo.com/evidence-based-proof-elderberry-syrup-is-better-than-the-flu-shot/

(2) The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. (ABSTRACT)
Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.
Barak V1, Halperin T, Kalickman I.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

(3) The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines.  (FULL TEXT)
Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.
Barak V1, Halperin T, Kalickman I.
http://www.jle.com/fr/revues/ecn/e-docs/the_effect_of_sambucol_a_black_elderberry_based_natural_product_on_the_production_of_human_cytokines_i._inflammatory_cytokines_90261/article.phtml?tab=texte

(4) Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections
The Journal of International Medical Research
2004; 32: 132 – 140
Z ZAKAY-RONES , E THOM , T WOLLAN AND J WADSTEIN
http://imr.sagepub.com/content/32/2/132.long

 

A Great Vaccine Debate On CNN

In case you missed it, CNN hosted a fun debate last night (Thursday, January 29).1

Dr. Armand Dorian gets my vote for Man of the Year for calling out “Dr.” Jack Wolfson over his unscientific positions on vaccines and the current measles outbreak in California and 13 other states.  I’ve linked the video below.  Even though CNN sneaks in a 30 second commercial at the beginning, it’s well worth sitting through just to hear Dorian deliver the truth: it’s hard to believe that Wolfson has a medical license.  The man is literally doing harm to his patients.

cnn debate capture

Dorian and Wolfson debate. Click to launch video.

Dorian is a doctor and debunks Wolfson far better than I ever could, so please watch the video, linked here.  But I can’t resist commenting.  Some of Wolfson’s more ridiculous statements are that:

(1) We’re injecting chemicals in our children’s bodies (when we vaccinate).
Well, duh.  Our bodies are made up of chemicals.  Everything we eat and drink is a chemical.  Everything we see, touch, taste, and feel is a chemical.  Dr. Wolfson, here’s a beautiful online version of the periodic table of the elements.2  You should have studied this in grade school.  Chemicals!  Oh my God, they’re everywhere!

According to the CDC, measles is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in children.3  Doctors agree that’s a really good reason to inject those chemicals.  They’re saving lives.

(2) Measles results in “typically benign childhood conditions”
Death is not a benign condition.  The CDC says for every 1000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die.4  One out of every four who contract the disease will be hospitalized. There is no cure for measles. Getting the vaccine is safer than coming down with the disease. Measles can lead to swelling of the brain and severe respiratory problems.5  And, oh yeah… did I mention death?

(3) “Our children have the right to get infections”
The “right” to get infections?

Sometimes you encounter a statement that’s so utterly stupid there’s just no response.  I suppose our children have the right to die in car crashes, but I’d like to prevent that.

Speaking of car crashes…

(4) “Bad things can happen to anybody.  We can be in a car accident.”
When host Erin Burnett points out to Wolfson that unvaccinated people are in fact dying from measles, he responds with “Bad things can happen to anybody.  We can be in a car accident.”

Yes doctor.  And that’s why we wear seat belts.  There’s some good science behind the seat belt concept, just as there is behind the measles vaccine.  Before the vaccine was invented in the 1960s, there were up to four million cases of the disease in the USA each year, with an average of 48,000 hospitalizations.5  Thanks to the vaccine, measles was eliminated in this country by the year 2000.6  Now, thanks to anti-vaccination campaigns and quack doctors, measles is making a comeback.

(5) “They [our children] need to get appropriate chiropractic care.  Actual healthy doctors […]”
Chiropractors are not doctors.  They have no medical training.  There’s nothing about chiropractic training or care that remotely begins to address handling a virus, which is what causes the measles.

For this statement alone, I agree with Dorian: Wolfson should not be practicing medicine.  He’s violating the Hippocratic oath.

 

Image Credits
CNN screen snapshot is used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Watch Doctors Have Heated Debate Over Vaccination
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/30/erin-panel-anti-vaccination-debate.cnn

(2) Periodic Table of the Elements
http://www.ptable.com/

(3) CDC Global Health – Measles, Rubella, and CRS
http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/measles/

(4) CDC: Measles: Make Sure Your Child Is Fully Immunized
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Measles/

(5) CDC/American Academy of Pediatrics Bulletin
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/downloads/dis-measles-color-office.pdf

(6) CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the U.S.
http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html

“The state With the Highest Vaccination Rate Has the Highest Infant Mortality Rate”

It’s rare to run across facts from an anti-vaccine proponent, so it shocked me when I found out this one was true:

maryjo-blurAccording to a 2010 CDC report on infant mortality, Mississippi led the USA with 9.62 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (1). Gleefully, anti-vaxxers point out multiple references showing Mississippi also leads the nation in vaccinating children, with rates at or better than 99.9% overall. For example see references (2) and (3).

As a scientist, I’m forced to concede facts, and here we have one:  the state with the best vaccination record is also losing children at the highest rate.

So what’s the problem here? Are vaccinations failing to protect the children of Mississippi as the anti-vaccination forum post claimed? Or, worse yet, are vaccinations somehow harming the children?

Well, as is often the case, just because someone is throwing a fact out at you, it doesn’t mean they’re being honest. I’ve always found this to be true of the anti-vaccination crowd, so I did a bit of research. My suspicions were confirmed, and what’s really happening in Mississippi is obvious.

Comparing Apples to Oranges
The problem is that Mississippi children are dying at birth, before they ever have a shot at vaccination (no pun intended). Or, they’re dying from causes that couldn’t be helped by a vaccine. For example, how do you vaccinate a child in the womb against a parent who smokes (smoking causes pre-mature birth, which leads to higher infant mortality)?

According to a 2013 Mississippi Infant Mortality Report (4), pre-term birth complications are the leading causes of infant death. Birth defects account for 19.1% of deaths, low birth weight/prematurity 15.2%, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) 10.6%… accidents, maternal complications, respiratory distress, and infections present at birth are all in the top 10 – none possibly preventable (or caused by) vaccines.

Let’s say this again because it’s the point anti-vaxxers intentionally choose to ignore: Mississippi infants are dying before they ever live long enough to get vaccinated.

Another major contributor to infant mortality in Mississippi is socioeconomic conditions. According to the same report (4), poor and un-insured women, teens, and African-American women are more likely to lose babies due to pre-term births.  For example, there are 14.1 pre-term births for white Mississippian women vs. 20.6 for blacks per 1,000 live births.  As pointed out two paragraphs earlier, pre-term birth complications are the leading cause of infant death in this state.

Why am I harping on about social and economic conditions in a discussion of infant mortality rates in Mississippi?  Well, we know they’re a contributor to higher infant mortality. Guess which is the poorest state in the USA? Yes, it’s Mississippi (5).   How do you vaccinate a child against a mother’s lack of access to proper pre-natal care?

The socioeconomic study is reinforced by a CDC study (6) that shows infant mortality rates nationwide for black women are more than twice those for white women. Why would this matter for infant mortality in Mississippi? According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Mississippi has the highest percentage of African-Americans in the United States (7).

Last but not least, exposure to cigarette smoke is known to have an effect on low birthweight, which in turn increases the risk of infant mortality (4). A 2013 Gallup poll places Mississippi third in the nation when it comes to addiction to cigarette smoking, behind only Kentucky and West Virginia (8). No wonder so many children are dying. How do you vaccinate a child against a parent who smokes?

So now we know why so many children are dying in Mississippi, and anti-vaccine nutters are comparing apples to oranges when quoting infant mortality and vaccination rates for the state.

But let’s not stop there – let’s compare vaccinated Mississippi children against unvaccinated children in other states.

Comparing Apples to Apples
Before poorly informed anti-vaccination campaigners started making their rounds, measles was a disease that was considered beaten. Now, thanks to unvaccinated children, it’s on the comeback, and people are dying (12).

In the news recently, the three states with the highest number of measles outbreaks were Ohio [138], California [60], and New York City [26] (9). How do OH, CA, and NY compare to well-vaccinated Mississippi when it comes to MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccinations?   If you’re anti-vaccine lady whose quote opened this article, you’re not going to like the answer:  Ohio, California, and New York lag Mississippi by 3 to 7 percent in vaccination levels (9).  And that lady needs to sit down now and hold on to her seat:

How many measles cases have been reported in highly vaccinated Mississippi?  In the last decade, there has been one confirmed case of measles in the Magnolia State.

To drive the point home, most of the 288 measles cases reported in the USA this year have been in unvaccinated persons or those with unknown vaccination status (9).  So Mississippi is clearly doing a great job, once the child lives long enough to get vaccinated.

If the anti-vaccine lady is still seated, she should stay there, because it gets worse.

Measles isn’t the only example for which we have hard evidence.  In 2012, the largest Chickenpox outbreak in the USA hit Vigo County in Indiana (11). 84 cases were reported in a county that usually sees less than 10 per year. Chickenpox can cause serious problems for older children and adults and is extremely contagious.

In 2012, the state of Indiana reported 469 cases of Chickenpox. Mississippi reported only 11 (13). Not surprisingly, Indiana ranks very poorly compared to Mississippi – approximately 7% less of the Indiana population is vaccinated against Chickenpox (3).  Again, when you look at the facts, Mississippi’s vaccination programs are working, while states with poor vaccination records are suffering the consequences.

Conclusion
When reading anti-vaccination posts in online forums and on Facebook, it’s best to keep an old saying in mind:

 “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure”

The quote has been attributed to various sources including Mark Twain, but regardless of who said it, the truth behind the Mississippi vaccination/infant mortality myth is nothing more than a phenomenon with a fancy name of false or illusory correlation: you simply take two numbers that have nothing to do with each other, and convince your audience that there’s a relationship between them.

I’ll close by a fun example of false correlation that everyone can understand, courtesy of the Spurious Correlation Generator at http://www.tylervigen.com: Did you know that taking anti-diabetic drugs is directly linked to your chances of drowning in a fishing boat accident?

Hey, anti-vaccine believers, the numbers don’t lie!

correlation

References
(1)  CDC Infant Deaths Per 1,000 Live Births, By State: 2010
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/INFANT_MORTALITY_RATES_STATE_2010.pdf

(2)  Advisory Board Company Daily Briefing – States With the Best – and Worst – Vaccine Coverage (August 2013)
http://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2013/08/08/the-states-with-the-best-and-worst-vaccine-coverage

(3)  CDC MMWR Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten –USA, 2012-13 School Year
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6230a3.htm?s_cid=mm6230a3_e#Tab1

 (4)  Mississippi Department of Health and Vital Statistics
http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/5629.pdf

(5) State & County Quick Facts, United States Census Bureau
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/download_data.html

(6)  Recent Declines in Infant Mortality in the United States, NCHS Data Brief, April 2013 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db120.pdf

(7)  Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0056/twps0056.html

(8)  Gallup Well-Being: In U.S., Smoking Rate Loest in Utah, Highest in Kentucky http://www.gallup.com/poll/167771/smoking-rate-lowest-utah-highest-kentucky.aspx

(9)  CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6322a4.htm

(10)  Mississippi Morbidity Report, Vol 24, No. 12. Dec 2008
http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/3095.pdf

(11)  Largest Chickenpox Outbreak in the U.S. Hits Vigo County in Indiana  (Huffington Post 11/27/2012)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/chickenpox-outbreak-largest-vigo-county-indiana_n_2199231.html

(12)  World Health Organization “Measles”
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

(13)  CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Summary of Notifiable Diseases – United States 2012
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6153a1.htm?s_cid=mm6153a1_w

Uneducated Chiropractor and Nurse Endanger Life of Three Month Old Child

Pertussis

It all started with a Facebook post in a forum named “Unvaccinated America”. A mother, claiming to be an “educated Registered Nurse”, reports she suspects her 3 month child has Whooping Cough (pertussis). After listing unsubstantiated, ineffective folk cures she’s tried (butter, oil, fermented cod liver, etc.), she asks THE INTERNET for advice on treating her child.

The obvious question here is “shouldn’t she have taken the baby to a doctor?” If you have time to shop for fermented cod liver oil while your child is dying, is a side trip to the doctor an inconvenience?

But it gets worse.

The mother proudly reports that she has never had her child vaccinated. Sadly, the first and best line of defense against Whooping Cough IS vaccination. The vaccine is safe and effective (see CDC recommendations in references at end of article). This illness could have been prevented. And a serious illness it is:

Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease caused by a bacterial infection. Bordetella pertussis is the culprit. The bacteria’s effect on the body is violent coughing, often to the point that breathing becomes difficult or impossible. In children under the age of one, such as the baby who’s the subject of this article, the disease can be fatal.

It’s estimated that around 200,000 children die each year from Whooping Cough out of an infected total of 16 million. In the 12 year period beginning 2000, 255 children in the USA died from the disease. All but 34 of those were under 3 months old. Remember, the baby discussed in this article is three months old.

Half of babies who get Whooping Cough require hospitalization. 25% of those will get pneumonia, a second highly dangerous disease. Seizures and brain damage are common outcomes.

But it gets worse.

In the case of our endangered baby and the Facebook plea for help, ENTER “MR G.”, a self described “Doctor of Chiropractic”. If you thought that the mother was endangering her child with snake oil — err, sorry — fermented cod liver oil —was bad, Mr. G. makes it worse. Rather than recommending the proper treatment, which is immediate hospitalization and treatment with antibiotics, our friendly, misguided chiropractor takes us on an irrelevant journey of the nervous system, suggests removing sugar from the baby’s diet, and — by all means — get the baby to a chiropractor as soon as possible!!! And friends, wouldn’t you know it, Mr. G. just happens to have the name of a good chiropractor he can pass along if the mother will just private message him.

I’m sorry. Get the baby to a chiropractor?

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, perhaps a trip to the undertaker would be more appropriate. This baby is in the highest possible risk group for fatalities and is being denied every known working treatment. Will it even be alive tomorrow?

Epilogue
On October 1, 2014, less than two weeks after this article was written, an unvaccinated baby died from whooping cough in New South Wales, Australia.  This was the 3rd unvaccinated baby to die in New South Wales in the past 5 years.

REFERENCES

About Pertussis:
http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/

About Vaccination:
http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/vaccines.html

Treatment After Infection:
http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/treatment.html

CDC Fact Sheet for Parents:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/fs-parents.html

Pertussis Worldwide:
http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/countries.html

Baby Dies from Whooping Cough:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-01/baby-dies-from-whooping-cough/5783360

CREDITS
1. Images of screen snapshots of facebook posts in a public forum are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

2. Image of the young boy with Whooping Cough courtesy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), image ID #6378

Original post from mother

Original post from mother, a woman claiming to be a Registered Nurse who has left her baby unvaccinated and now suspects it has Whooping Cough (pertussis)

Reply from "helpful" chiropractor

Reply from a chiropractor suggesting (according to established medical procedures — see references) every possible wrong treatment for an endangered 3 month old child.