Epidemic parasites are back to plague us again. Malaria, Cholera, and Yellow fever were thought conquered but they also like the super bugs are again present despite our heroic public efforts.
YELLOW FEVER (also called white man’s grave) endemic in Africa, is characterized by bleeding from the stomach and nose with associated high delirious fevers. Out breaks occurred on ships in 1648 at Martinique and then Cuba. in 1803 Napoleon sent an army to Haiti of 33,000 men with 90% of them perishing from Yellow fever. For over 20 years a Cuban, Dr. Farlay, kept saying that a mosquito caused the disease but couldn’t prove it. Later the mosquito Aedes segypti was implicated. It was present only the first few days of the disease and then the patient would only be contagious within the first two weeks. In 1793, 5,000 people were killed in Philadelphia by the disease.
In 1927 the virus was found in the rhesus monkeys and ten years later Thailes made a vaccine that was 100% effective. Sounds like the end of Yellow Fever. But we could vaccinate all humans but couldn’t vaccinate all the monkeys in the jungles. The forest virus was found to spread in the jungles. Cuba and other islands were sprayed with DDT to eradicate the mosquito.
In 1959 the disease reappeared in South America. In 1960,as the dangers of DDT were discovered the people refused to have their lands sprayed. Yellow fever has been noted again in the jungles. It seems that no disease is ever defeated in its own habitat and only grows more lethal in some parts of the world.
MALARIA has killed 400 people annually with 90% of them in tropical Africa.. At present, three million people still die annually in Africa from Malaria.
The bite of infected anopheline mosquito injects plasmodium parasite into the human blood. The mosquito injects saliva into the blood so no clotting occurs while the mosquito feeds. The parasite enters the liver and remains a sleepy animal until a sudden shock reactivates it. Four species were discovered by Dr. Laverian in 1880.
In 1820, Pelletier discovered quinine from the bark of the quinchona tree. It was found to arrest the disease. In 1942, during W.W.II the Japanese cut off our supply of quinine from Java and we were forced to use something more powerful, Chloroquine. In 1958 we sprayed the jungles with choroquine (active ingredient DDT). Resistant strains of mosquito and other pests flourished. The insects returned with new resistance.
In 1969, 1/2 million people died in Sri Lanka of the disease. In 1975, six million people died. There was three times more cases of malaria in 1975 than in 1961.
During the Vietnamese war we made floquine which stopped the enzymatic reaction. Resistance again developed. In 1980, the wormwood vaccine was made from a plant in china to control the disease. Again resistance developed. In 1983, 97 % of the patients were cured with Carbochlorquine and pyrimethane. In 1990 only 21% of these patients were cured with this treatment.
In 1986 a new strain falciparun was found and it became resistant to our new drug Mefloquine. This mosquito caused 1/2 of all the malaria in Cambodia, and we had no weapon.
The parasite formed a new enzyme that pumped out the drugs out of the cells. The mosquito is winning against all human attempts. We must view our natural world more critically. We interfere with natural world forces and subtle forces affect our heath. We tackle disease with head on cures, vaccines, vector controls, and change how we live. The result is the release of previously hidden microbes.
Cholera is a disease that results in very watery stools and death in 24 hours. A vaccine was developed in 1893 which practically eradicated the disease. In 1961 a new strain was found in Indonesia called ‘El Tor". An outbreak occurred in South America, Africa and India in 1990. In 1991, Lima Peru stopped chlorinating its water and 9600 deaths from cholera resulted. In 1992 a new strain was discovered in Bangkok.
EBOLA virus was discovered in 1962 in eastern Bolivia. It is an African hemorrhagic virus (called Marburg from the village in Africa where the first outbreak was noted.). The virus destroys all clotting mechanisms and destroys the immune system. The heart bleeds into itself. Holes appear in all the organs. It destroys itself and the human it infests in 5 days. To survive the virus must leap into an new host.
It is the only virus that curls itself up in a ring. It has 7 proteins wrapped around a strand of RNA and twists into weird shapes. Its genetic structure is very settled (implying it is a very old virus). It has not mutated. There currently is no anti viral drug to fight this virus.
LASSA VIRUS is a virus that has been endemic in West Africa for years and was camouflaged by other infections. It is characterized by dark spines with a pitting firm perfect sphere. Dr. Cords was infected with this virus and injected himself with the plasma of another infected patient. He recovered rather quickly. Today there are antiviral drugs that work on this disease.