America Is Losing Its Other Germ War America Loses 14,000 Lives A Year In Its Other Germ War; Over-Use Of Antibiotics Like Cipro May Induce Plagues; Natural Antibiotics May Rescue Mankind

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Special
addendum
: side effects of CIPRO-like drugs may be worse than
Anthrax; CIPRO should not be used by rescue, police or military
personnel, nor be approved for nation's antibiotic stockpile.

America
is losing its other germ war and thousands more lives are needlessly
being lost than from the recent anthrax threat.

The
public has been gripped by the threat of anthrax in the past week,
and has become familiar with CIPRO (ciprofloxacin-Bayer), the antibiotic
that has been widely described as the preferred drug to treat inhalation
anthrax.

At
the same time, Americans have been distracted from America's other
germ war – the over-use of prescription antibiotics like CIPRO
which will only hasten the early demise of millions of humans worldwide
as more germs mutate and become resistant to these drugs, permitting
bugs like E. coli, Enterococci, Staphylococcus, Helicobacteri pylori,
and yes even anthrax, to escape treatment and increase morbidity
and mortality. The ongoing germ war Americans face is not administered
by a terrorist but is of one their own doing.

A
news story that has been overshadowed by the American anthrax scare
is that FDA and University of Maryland researchers found 20% of
meat samples obtained from supermarkets were contaminated with drug-resistant
salmonella, a germ that is responsible for 1.4 million cases of
food poisoning annually. Among the samples of ground beef, chicken
turkey and pork, 84% of the salmonella was found to be resistant
to one drug and 53% to three or more antibiotics.1

Worldwide,
many strains of Staph aureus, another pathogenic bacterium, are
resistant to all antibiotics except Vancomycin, which is considered
the antibiotic of last resort. Strains of germs like Enterococcus
faecalis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
already defy a stockpile of more than 100 antibiotic drugs.

The
FDA is rapidly making plans to reduce the use of antibiotics in
animals, particularly because the drug-resistance in these animals
can be transferred to humans. Over 40% of the antibiotics produced
annually (about 20 million pounds) are used in animals.

In
an attempt to head off the growing drug-resistance problem, the
American Medical Association has urged its members not to prescribe
CIPRO to patients who are merely worried about anthrax exposure
and has warned physicians to reduce their rate of prescriptions
for antibiotics overall. Some experts estimate half of the antibiotics
taken in the US are unnecessary.

Most
commercial antibiotics have been molecularly altered in the laboratory
to obtain a patent and to improve potency. The man-made molecules
are what induce germs to mutate and become resistant to their killing
properties.2 Drug companies have
responded to the resistance problem "by producing newer
antibiotics," most which are just variations or combinations
of old drugs.3 The FDA says it is
doing all it can to speed up development and availability of new
antibiotic drugs.4 For example, in
September of 1999 the FDA announced the "approval of a long-needed
new weapon against the growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria:
Synercid, the first alternative in 30 years to the antibiotic (vancomycin)
of last resort." Synercid (Rhone-Poulenc Rorer) is the
first in a new class of antibiotics called streptogamins, but the
FDA admitted it only has a 52% effectiveness rating in fighting
off drug-resistant strains of enterococcal infections and it was
accompanied by side effects such as rash, vomiting, diarrhea and
joint pain.5

But
the FDA makes no mention of natural, non-patentable antibiotics
which do not induce resistance, some which exhibit a 100% kill factor
for anthrax and a wide range of other germs. There are no financial
incentives for makers of antibiotic foods like garlic, or supplements
like oil of oregano, to undergo expensive and time-consuming clinical
trials so they can make a label claim as an antibiotic. This gives
drug manufacturers complete reign over the prescription antibiotic
drug market. Most Americans are so ill informed on this issue that
they just can't believe natural antibiotics are more potent than
the drugs their doctor prescribes.

Physicians
could direct their patients to natural antibiotics that don't induce
resistance, but they have largely been trained to use prescription
medications and to look askance at natural remedies as if they are
snake oil. This problem is already costing many patients with their
lives as the antibiotic drugs fail to cure pneumonia or other hospital-acquired
infections. An estimated 14,000 hospitalized patients are believed
to die from drug-resistant bacteria annually. That's far more than
the current anthrax exposure.6

In
order to maintain profits of the pharmaceutical companies and physicians,
the FDA requires the public to play a risky game, to wait for infection
to occur, then run to the doctor, risk death or chronic health problems,
receive a broad-spectrum antibiotic while the doctor sends a swab
sample to the laboratory for culture to see if the prescribed antibiotic
will defeat that particular kind of germ. There are over 76 million
cases of foodborne infection annually in the US which produces diarrhea
and 5000 deaths annually.7 These deaths
could be prevented if the manufacturers of natural antibiotics like
garlic and oil of oregano were permitted to inform the public of
their well-documented germ-killing properties. The public could
take garlic or oil of oregano as prevention without risk of germ-resistance.
In a country that prides itself in free speech, even the truth is
being barred from public dissemination in regards to herbal antibiotics.

NATURAL
ANTIBIOTICS TO THE RESCUE

Virtually
every prescription antibiotic that is consumed is hastening the
day when all the bug-killers will be rendered useless. Why we continue
to solely rely upon patentable molecules to kill germs and ignore
more potent, economical and safe natural antibiotics, which do not
induce resistance, goes unexplained except for financial greed.

A
growing body of scientific evidence confirms that natural herbs
and spices exhibit antibiotic properties that are equivalent if
not superior to drugs.

For
example, researchers in the Netherlands report that garlic is capable
to eradicating vancomycin-resistant enterococci bacteria, a germ
that is a growing cause of mortality in hospitals.8
A broth of 2% garlic juice has been shown to completely eradicate
ampicillin-resistant E. coli.9 E.
coli infections are widespread, originating from fecal material,
and a resistant strain of E. coli (clonal group A) is accounting
for more than half of all the female urinary tract infections. In
some parts of the country about 20% of these infections now only
respond to a combination of powerful drugs, drugs that encourage
even more drug resistant strains.10

A
1% solution of garlic from fresh cloves has been shown to have antibacterial
activity against E. coli and antibiotic-resistant (methicillin)
Staph aureus, Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning, and
Candida albicans, the most common yeast infection.11
Researchers at Georgetown University report that oil of oregano
(not the kitchen cupboard variety of oregano) was recently tested
against drug-resistant Staphylococcus bacteria and was found to
be equally effective as streptomycin, penicillin and vancomycin.12

These
herbal antibiotics do not induce germ resistance. The complete lack
of antibiotic resistance with garlic has been repeatedly shown.13
Garlic exhibits strong activity against bacteria, even multi-drug
resistant strains, as well as against fungi (yeast) and viruses.14
In one report, infectious disease specialists concede that garlic
may be effective in the treatment of middle ear infection given
that antibiotic drugs are failing.15

An
estimated 50% of the US adult population is believed to be infected
with Helicobacter pylori, the gastric bug that causes ulcers and
has recently been confirmed as the germ that causes stomach cancer.16
Antibiotics could virtually eliminate the risk of stomach cancer,
the 8th leading cause of cancer-related death in the
US, but their use among non-ulcer infected patients would induce
more drug-resistant strains of H. pylori. Yet garlic is able to
kill H. pylori.17 It is unlikely that
physicians will begin to advise their patients to consume more garlic
or garlic capsules to prevent stomach cancer. So the public remains
at risk for a form of cancer that could be virtually eliminated.

Furthermore,
it is apparent that the simultaneous use of antioxidants and herbs
such as green tea with antibiotic drugs may actually help to prevent
genetic mutations and suppress the emergence of resistant bacteria
in the first place.18

Animals
could be given natural antibiotics like garlic and oil of oregano
and these germ-killers can also be placed in foods to kill off any
pathogens and to reduce spoilage. Oil of oregano has been shown
to exhibit the greatest inhibition of bacteria among food spices
in a recent test against pathogens such as E. Coli, Staph aureus,
Pseudomonas and others germs.19

A
study conducted at Cornell University found that spices such as
garlic, oil of oregano, onion, and allspice kill every bacterium
tested, even anthrax.20 A 1977 conducted
in India reveals that crude garlic extract exhibited greater antibiotic
action against Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) than tetracycline, penicillin,
streptomycin, ampicillin, erythromycin and other antibiotics.21

In
a remarkable study, the Garlic Centre in Essex, England, reports
that a daily garlic capsule reduced the incidence of the common
cold by 50 percent during winter months. The common cold affects
more people than any other type of infection.22
There are nearly 61 million cases of the common cold annually in
the US says the National Center for Health Statistics. Garlic has
been shown to kill Herpes simplex, Parainfluenza, and rhinovirus
in a laboratory dish.23 Researchers
at the Weitzmann Institute of Science in Israel report that allicin,
a component of garlic, effectively kills off multi-drug resistant
strains of E. coli, fungi such as Candida albicans, protozoan parasites
such as Giardia lamblia and viruses.24

SPECIAL
ADDENDUM:
OTHER ANTIBIOTICS WORK EQUALLY WELL AS CIPRO

While
only a few hundred Americans were potentially exposed to anthrax
and given precautionary courses of CIPRO and other antibiotics,
the demand for CIPRO was reported to rise from less than 10,000
to over 18,000 pills dispensed daily in the week of October 14-20,
2001.

The
FDA approved CIPRO for inhalational anthrax on July 28, 2000. However,
it is not the only drug that works against anthrax. For ethical
reasons human studies on anthrax cannot be conducted. But animal
studies with anthrax were performed in 1993. Groups of 10 animals
were exposed to inhalational anthrax. Each antibiotic tested completely
protected the animals while on the drug, but upon discontinuance,
here was the survival rate: penicillin, 7 of 10 survived; ciprofloxacin
(CIPRO)*, 8 of 9 survived; doxycycline, 8 of 9 survived. (*An additional
animal was not counted because it succumbed to pneumonia during
the trial.)25

The
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, says there is a false impression that CIPRO
is the only drug that would work against anthrax. CIPRO is in a
class of drugs called fluoroquinolones would work equally well,
he says.26 Brand names of other fluoroquinolone
drugs are Avelox, Floxin, Levaquin, Maxaquin, Noroxin, Penetrex,
Tequin and Zagam.

In
1994 Russian scientists found the protective effects of three fluoroquinolone
drugs, ciprofloxacin (CIPRO), pefloxacin and lomefloxacin, were
practically the same against anthrax.27
Five other fluoroquinolones have been shown to be pharmaceutically
superior to ciprofloxacin.28 Levofloxacin
is better absorbed into lung tissue than ciprofloxacin, which is
where anthrax spores reside.29

CIPRO
WORSE THAN ANTHRAX

According
to a Washington Post report, the use of CIPRO is likely to
threaten the health of far more people than any anthrax attack.
The report says 7.3 percent of CIPRO users can expect to experience
side effects, which includes death following the ingestion of just
one tablet, seizures, hallucinations, and rash, the latter symptom
mimicking a sign of anthrax which would unnecessarily frighten a
CIPRO user.30

Though
CIPRO has been around since 1987 and over 250 million people have
taken it, it is fraught with serious side effects, enough to make
a person wonder why it was approved for use in a biological warfare
environment.

First,
Fluoroquinolone drugs like CIPRO are not recommended for children
under the age of 18, nor pregnant females.

Second,
Fluoroquinolones may adversely interact with many other drugs. Caffeine,
warfarin blood thinners (Coumadin), magnesium antacids, and theophylline
asthma drugs should not be taken with this class of drugs.31

Third,
Ciprofloxacin and all fluoroquinolones are photosensitive medications
and they can cause skin reactions upon exposure to solar ultraviolet
radiation and even from low-dose fluorescent lighting.32
Phototoxicity is reported with all fluoroquinolones but lomefloxacin's
molecular structure minimizes this problem.33
Rescue workers, police or military personnel who receive CIPRO-like
drugs and who must work outdoors may experience light-induced reactions.

Fourth,
CIPRO is reported to interfere with collagen formation and induce
rupture of the Achilles tendon. Tendonitis and tendon ruptures have
been reported several months following antibiotic treatment even
with minimal mechanical stress.34
Even rather low doses of CIPRO-like drugs, or a magnesium-deficient
diet, may induce Achilles tendon inflammation or rupture.35
Apparently CIPRO either blocks the absorption or the action of magnesium,
an essential mineral, which then results in weakened joints. The
provision of supplemental magnesium should be advised to users of
CIPRO since this may prevent the occurrence of joint ruptures.36
But nothing is said about the connection between magnesium shortage
and joint problems in product literature. Since magnesium impairs
the absorption of fluoroquinolones, it should be taken in between
courses of this class of antibiotics.37
CIPRO-like drugs are apparently inappropriate for use in a biological
warfare environment where rescue, police and military personnel
require antibiotic treatment and yet may suffer joint injuries that
would impair their performance.

Fifth,
Bayer AG, the German-based parent company that produces CIPRO, is
accused of fraud and unethical behavior for not disclosing to surgical
patients in a clinical study of the potential hazards posed by the
use of CIPRO when it is taken with preoperative sedatives or tranquilizers.
Apparently sedatives impair the absorption of CIPRO and then increase
the risk of infection. Some British surgical patients experienced
infections and one died in a clinical study that Bayer refuses to
disclose data on.38 It is reported
that many people in New York City began taking tranquilizers following
the attack on the World Trade Center. This would be a contraindication
for CIPRO-like drugs in a metropolitan biological warfare arena
where some people may require surgery due to trauma, etc.

Sixth,
in fact the FDA is proposing to withdraw one of the fluoroquinolone
drugs used in poultry because is causes the rapid development of
resistant Campylobacter bacteria that can be transferred to humans.39

Bayer
sells CIPRO for $1.83 per table to the US government, less than
the $4.40 normal price. But the recommended two 500 mg tablets per
day for 60 days to treat inhalational anthrax exposure would cost
about $220, compared to around $20 for tetracycline or doxycycline.

Tommy
Thompson, secretary of Health & Human Services, is petitioning
Congress for $643 million to add CIPRO and other drugs to the nation's
antibiotic stockpile. This may be ill advised.

REFERENCES

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October
24, 2001

Bill
Sardi [send him mail] is a health
journalist at www.askbillsardi.com.

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