Note: Teresa Conrick has written a series of articles on the Microbiome. You can read them here in our AofA Exclusives.
By Teresa Conrick
Vaccines. The idea of them seems so good. Inject a recipe of chemicals into human beings and animals, and they are then protected from microbial-causing diseases. The reality though for many families is something went wrong, either immediately after vaccination - seizures, death, or from that point forward, profound changes in health and development - REGRESSION.
My daughter, Megan, had subtle, regressive episodes after each vaccination but devastatingly so after her MMR vaccine. Immediately, Megan began with a fever for days, then a full body rash starting on the 10th day, diarrhea, constipation, then undigested food in her stool, then Giardia and Blastocystis Hominis infections, gluten and casein intolerance developed, nonstop ear infections (otitis media), concurrent Candida infections, Clostridium infections, Streptococcus infections, seizures when puberty hit and most recently, an autoimmune diagnosis. An autism diagnosis was placed on her before age three, based on the behaviors -- that in hindsight -- most likely manifested from all of these infections and a dysfunctional immune system. This has been the pattern and research is pointing to the microbiome as quite possibly, the epicenter of autism: NEJM, January 28, 2014, “More Evidence Links Gut Microbiome to Autism:”
If this mouse model of autism truly reflects pathology similar to autism in humans, these researchers might have identified yet another major human illness that is linked to the gut microbiome. Moreover, the identification of two specific metabolites that induce autistic behavior could provide molecular targets for therapy. Finally — although it seems too good to be true — the suggestion that probiotic therapy might cure autism surely would be a remarkable event if it proves to be valid.
I continue to investigate research on the microbiome as there are patterns that seem connected to autism and other increasing diseases that share a dysfunctional microbiome. While investigating the microbiome, it’s important to look back into history and see that the birth of autism in the 1930’s, happened exactly when ethyl mercury vaccines and ethyl mercury pesticides/fungicides were debuting. The family history of eight found families of those first eleven reveals a toxic connection, especially mercury, and significantly the newly commercialized, ethyl mercury. Those factors remain the most important clues for us today.
Reading about the microbiome has shown some connections that may be influencing it in a negative manner. Antibiotics used in our food supply; mercury in the environment, food and medicines; pesticides; and vaccination, all seem capable of causing insidious changes in the microbiome. Research Is showing some vaccines seem capable of causing an unintended development. I wrote about some of this before but think it’s important to include old information with new to make it more evident.
Trading ChickenPox for Shingles? Here are live attenuated viral vaccines which show evidence of causing Shingles (Herpes Zoster) to both older folks and children actually getting the Chicken Pox (Varicella) vaccine or the Shingles vaccine or from being exposed to someone who received the vaccine. From the NYT in 2005 :
But even as the vaccine protects children, questions are arising about whether its use will increase the incidence of a related disease, shingles, in adults....The concern arises from a hypothesis, backed by some evidence, that exposure to children with chickenpox helps increase adults' immunity to shingles, which is caused by the same virus. With far fewer children contracting chickenpox because of the vaccine, that effect would vanish, and adults, who have by and large, not been vaccinated, would be at greater risk of shingles.
And here is data, done in 2005:
Between 1998 and 2003, varicella incidence declined from 16.5/1,000 to 3.5/1,000 (79%) overall with ≥66% decreases for all age groups except adults (27% decrease). Age-standardized estimates of overall herpes zoster occurrence increased from 2.77/1,000 to 5.25/1,000 (90%) in the period 1999–2003, and the trend in both crude and adjusted rates was highly significant (p < 0.001). Annual age-specific rates were somewhat unstable, but all increased, and the trend was significant for the 25–44 year and 65+ year age groups.
Yes, here is an adult:
Herpes zoster caused by vaccine-strain varicella zoster virus in an immunocompetent recipient of zoster vaccine. (2014)
But, also, here is a child:
A five-year-old girl, vaccinated against varicella-zoster virus (VZV) presented with clinical symptoms of herpes zoster in the 6th cervical dermatome. A VZV direct immune-fluorescence assay was negative three times but additional genotypical analysis showed a VZV strain genotype 2 (Oka vaccine strain). Therefore the diagnosis of a breakthrough varicella disease with the vaccine strain was established……
The Shingles vaccine, the one many adults are getting, appears to have the ability to shed:
Analysis of 36 individuals over age 60 years who were immunized with Zostavax revealed varicella zoster virus (VZV) DNA in swabs of skin inoculation sites obtained immediately after immunization in 18 (50%) of 36 subjects (copy number per nanogram of total DNA, 28 to 2.1 × 106) and in saliva collected over 28 days in 21 (58%) of 36 subjects (copy number, 20 to 248). Genotypic analysis of DNA extracted from 9 random saliva samples identified vaccine virus in all instances. In some immunized individuals over age 60, vaccine virus DNA is shed in saliva up to 4 weeks….
Another vaccine I reported on that showed evidence of microbiome changes:
“Vaccines show effectiveness against vaccine-serotype disease, nasopharyngeal acquisition of pneumococci, and pneumococcal transmission. However, nonvaccine pneumoccal serotypes fill the vacant nasopharyngeal niche, leaving overall pneumococcal carriage similar or only temporarily decreased (5,6) and lead to a gradual increase in nonvaccine serotype disease (7)….. Colonization is a dynamic process of interactions among microbes and between microbes and the host and result in balanced bacterial ecosystems that benefit health. Perturbations of these interactive microbial structures (e.g., by environmental change or vaccinations) alter the bacterial network structures and may thereby influence the presence and containment of other microbiota members, and these alterations have effects on health and susceptibility to disease (13,14)…… ……. Vaccination with PCV-7 resulted in a shift in bacterial community composition and structure, with an increase in presence or abundance of several anaerobes, such as Veillonella, Prevotella, Fusobacterium, and Leptotrichia species; gram-positive bacteria, such as Actinomyces and Rothia species, and nonpneumococcal streptococci; and gram-negative Neisseria species…. Together with S. pneumoniae nonvaccine serotype replacement, these effects may further jeopardize the net health benefit of vaccinations with PCV.”
So again, we see a consequence that in the long run may show no benefit and possibly harmful consequences to Man.
Recently, I came across a third vaccine that also seemed to fit this pattern of causing a shift in the microbiome:
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Enhances Colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus in Mice (February, 2014)
Community interactions at mucosal surfaces between viruses, like influenza virus, and respiratory bacterial pathogens are important contributors toward pathogenesis of bacterial disease. What has not been considered is the natural extension of these interactions to live attenuated immunizations, and in particular, live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs). Using a mouse-adapted LAIV against influenza A (H3N2) virus carrying the same mutations as the human FluMist vaccine, we find that LAIV vaccination reverses normal bacterial clearance from the nasopharynx and significantly increases bacterial carriage densities of the clinically important bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae (serotypes 19F and 7F) and Staphylococcus aureus (strains Newman and Wright) within the upper respiratory tract of mice. Vaccination with LAIV also resulted in 2- to 5-fold increases in mean durations of bacterial carriage. Furthermore, we show that the increases in carriage density and duration were nearly identical in all aspects to changes in bacterial colonizing dynamics following infection with wild-type (WT) influenza virus. Importantly, LAIV, unlike WT influenza viruses, had no effect on severe bacterial disease or mortality within the lower respiratory tract. Our findings are, to the best of our knowledge, the first to demonstrate that vaccination with a live attenuated viral vaccine can directly modulate colonizing dynamics of important and unrelated human bacterial pathogens, and does so in a manner highly analogous to that seen following wild-type virus infection.
As you can imagine, the researchers were bombarded with negative letters and feedback. They reported that THE VACCINE DID WHAT IT WAS INTENDED TO DO BUT THERE WERE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES:
While care should be taken to not overgeneralize the data described here to all vaccines, the broad implications suggest that live attenuated viral vaccines may have unintended consequences on important human bacterial pathogens unrelated to the vaccine target species. Furthermore, our findings suggest a role for laboratory models of multispecies interactions with vaccine strains to inform future vaccine monitoring and evaluation programs aimed at identifying thus far entirely unrealized “unconventional” effects, both beneficial and detrimental, of live attenuated viral vaccines and cross-species microbial dynamics.
This was science and the authors deserve praise for pursuing it, as there is controversy. Ethics and morals are getting too rare these days and this is a great example of gaining faith in the scientific method and in the research community. These researchers then had to defend their work:
Reply to “No Clinical Association of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine with Nasal Carriage of Bacteria or Acute Otitis Media”: Specific Recommendations for Future Studies (May, 2014)
….given the strong emphasis of vaccine research on individual recipients, no trial has assessed the potential impacts of immunization on contacts of vaccine recipients with regard to a pathogen that is distinct from the vaccine target pathogen…. bacterial carriage begets bacterial transmission, and even relatively small increases in bacterial carriage density may increase bacterial transmission to bystander individuals (10, 12), a finding that has been shown in numerous mouse and ferret models of pneumococcal transmission (10, 13), as well as in studies looking at transmission of other pathogens (14, 15)…… In the context of LAIV, one could envision a situation whereby a vaccinated individual with elevated bacterial carriage titers may not himself or herself be susceptible to bacterial disease but instead may act as a reservoir for increased transmission. Such a scenario might be particularly important, for example, between young children and grandparents or other elder individuals already having increased susceptibility to pneumococcal disease (12)…
… Current vaccine safety programs aim to ensure protection at the individual level, in particular, to confirm that vaccination causes no enhanced susceptibility to the pathogens targeted by vaccination and that vaccination has no immunologically relevant adverse events. Given the increased awareness of, and ability to understand, multispecies pathogen interactions within the host (which are often mediated by host immune processes), it is incumbent upon us to consider not only individual-level pathogen-specific vaccine safety and efficacy but also unintended consequences of vaccines on the dynamics of unrelated pathogens.
As we learn more about the microbiome and its integral part on health and disease, we can see how these pieces are beginning to all connect. Viruses can affect bacteria and as beneficial bacteria change, there is a domino effect and pathogens can take over. If toxins from our manmade world can do this, we can stop it by changing the process and then the outcome. The immune system of Mankind should be handled with more care.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.