• 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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      from retail ground meats, New England Journal Medicine
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    2. Levy SB, The challenge of antibiotics resistance, Scientific
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    3. Lavin BS, Antibiotic cycling and marketing into the 21st
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    33. Stablmann R, Lode H, Toxicity of quinolones, Drugs 58:
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      magnesium-deficient diet, Archives Toxicology 75: 369-74,
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    36. Egerbacher M, et al, In vitro evidence for effects of magnesium
      supplementation on quinolone-treated horse and dog chondrocytes,
      Veterinary Pathology 38: 143-48, 2001.
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    October
    24, 2001

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

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