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PLAGUE - When the Mouse Met Mercury

Kent Book PlagueBy Kent Heckenlively

The first known outbreak of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) took place during 1934-1935 at the Los Angeles County Hospital and affected 198 doctors and nurses during a polio outbreak.

300 doctors and nurses at the Los Angeles County Hospital were given an early polio vaccine developed by Dr. Maurice Brodie, as well as approximately 7,000 children.  (Active Immunization Against Poliomyeleitis, American Journal of Public Health, February 1936)  The vaccine was passaged multiple times through mouse brain tissue.  (Attempts to Produce Poliomyelitis in Refractory Laboratory Animals, March 1, 1935, doi: 10.3181/00379727-32-7876)

In addition to the polio vaccine, the doctors and nurses were also given an accompanying "immune serum" to boost their response to the vaccine.  This immune serum contained "merthiolate", otherwise known as thimerosal, as a preservative. (Use of Serum and the Routine and Experimental Laboratory Findings in the 1934 Poliomyelitis Epidemic, American Journal of Public Health, First read on September 3, 1934)

It was during this time period that the first children who would go onto develop autism were born.  These children were born to parents who worked primarily in the medical and scientific fields.  Do you think these were the parents who would have been first in line to get a polio vaccine for their children?  I do.

In 2009 Dr. Judy Mikovits and her team reported in an article in the journal, Science, an association between a mouse retrovirus, XMRV, and patients with ME/CFS.  The virus appears to be a mouse virus which has adapted to human beings.  She would later report that this retrovirus was found in high numbers in children with autism.  Viruses and mercury, what a combination, huh?

Can you understand now why I believe that the book I co-wrote with Dr. Judy Mikovits, PLAGUE: One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases is the scientific story of the century?

This was likely the first time that mouse tissue (possibly with a recombinant murine-human retrovirus) was injected into human beings along with a dose of mercury.  I will let you determine whether that sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially since retroviruses have the tendency to derange the immune system, allowing all sorts of viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens to rage out of control.

I suspect this was the chain of events leading to the plague of neuro-immune diseases we face today, especially since research published on XMRV by Emory University in 2011 showed that the retrovirus could likely become airborne, a nightmare scenario.

I believe that this reinterpretation of the events of 1934-1935 provide support for a common genesis of both chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and autism.

(Author's note - I am indebted to Mark Blaxill for his discussions with me about the use of thimerosal during this time period.  Mark has made me aware that the narrative I have given in this article is more accurate than the one provided in the book.  Future editions will specifically state that the thimerosal were part of the immune serum.  Left unchanged are the observations made by Blaxill and Olmsted in their book, Age of Autism, of the use of mercury fungicides utilized during this period and their likely use by the parents of some of the first cases of autism.)

Kent Book PlagueKent Heckenlively is a Founding Contributing Editor to Age of Autism and co-author with Dr. Judy Mikovits of Plague: One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, and Other Diseases.   Released on November 18, 2014.  Visit his website at Plague The Book. You can order the book HERE.


Ione Murphy

Could simian herpes viruses transferred to humans through experimental vaccines also account for the rise in autism?

Herpes viruses are known to lie latent and evade the immune system. Simain herpes viruses can be spread through urine and saliva, and passed congenitally.

"During the early efforts to develop a vaccine against polio, researchers discovered that the virus could cause disease not only in humans but also in monkeys. This led to early field trials in the 1930s of vaccine candidates developed using material taken from polio-infected monkeys, such as monkey spinal cords. These candidates proved to be dangerous, sometimes causing paralysis in the limb where the vaccine was administered; vaccines derived using nervous system tissue have a higher side effect profile than those developed using other methods (the myelin in the vaccine material can stimulate an adverse neurological reaction). The trials ceased, and researchers moved on with the goal of finding another way to grow the virus for vaccine development."

"In 1936, Albert Sabin and Peter Olitsky at the Rockefeller Institute successfully grew poliovirus in a culture of brain tissue from a human embryo. The virus grew quickly, which was promising, but Sabin and Olitsky were concerned about using this as starting material for a vaccine, fearing nervous system damage for vaccine recipients. They tried to grow poliovirus in cultures using tissue that had been taken from other sources, but were unsuccessful."
From the History of Vaccines

Ghaziuddin M, Tsai LY, Eilers L, Ghaziuddin N (1992). Brief report: autism and herpes simplex encephalitis. J Autism Dev Disord 22: 107–113.PubMedCrossRef

Gillberg C (1986). Onset at age 14 of a typical autistic syndrome. A case report of a girl with herpes simplex encephalitis. J Autism Dev Disord 16: 369–375.PubMedCrossRef

Greer MK, Lyons-Crews M, Mauldin LB, Brown FR III (1989). A case study of the cognitive and behavioral deficits of temporal lobe damage in herpes simplex encephalitis. J Autism Dev Disord 19: 317–326.PubMedCrossRef

Hornig M, Weissenbock H, Horscroft N, Lipkin WI (1999). An infection-based model of neurodevelopmental damage. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 96: 12102–12107.PubMedCrossRef

Ivarsson SA, Bjerre I, Vegfors P, Ahlfors K (1990). Autism as one of several disabilities in two children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Neuropediatrics 21: 102–103.PubMedCrossRef

J Virol. 1978 Jun; 26(3): 718–723.

PMCID: PMC525896

Genetic analysis of a cytomegalovirus-like agent isolated from human brain


An unusual cytomegalovirus (CMV, strain Colburn) isolated from brain biopsy of a boy with clinical encephalopathy was studied for genetic relatedness to human and simian CMV. Cross-examination of the purified viral DNA by DNA-DNA reassociation kinetics analyses showed more than 90% homology between Colburn virus and simian CMV (strain GR2757) and a lack of detectable homology between Colburn virus and human CMV (strains AD-169 and TW-87). Restriction endonuclease analysis of Colburn DNA showed some similarity of the DNA fragment pattern with that of simian CMV DNA, although the DNA fragment patterns were not identical, and showed no similarity to that of human CMV DNA. The molecular size and density of viral DNA were close to those of simian CMV DNA. The antigenic study, as performed by complement fixation and neutralization tests, showed strong cross-reactivity of Colburn virus to simian GR2757 virus. One-way cross-reaction of Colburn virus to several human CMV isolates (AD-169, Davis, and Town) was detected by complement fixation; this one-way cross-reaction was not obvious in a plaque neutralization test. It was concluded that Colburn is a simian CMV-related virus....

Herpesviruses are highly host specific and share a long synchronous evolution with their hosts. Only in rare cases, species barriers fall and allow animal to human or human to animal transmission. Among the zoonotic herpesviruses, Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 is the most significant and can be transmitted from macaques to human. Conversely, Human herpesvirus 1 is capable of causing severe disease in primates. Besides those two examples, there are several herpesviruses with a certainly limited or only suspected ability to cross species barriers. Those include Saimiriine herpesvirus 2, Phocid herpesvirus 2, Equid herpesvirus 1, Epstein-Barr Virus, Marek’s disease virus, and pseudorabies virus. Concerning xenotransplantations, porcine gammaherpesviruses must be considered as a zoonotic threat..


"The vaccine was passaged multiple times through mouse brain tissue"

THAT is disgusting.


Wikipedia says:

"Serial passage refers to the process of growing bacteria or a virus in iterations. For instance, a virus may be grown in one environment, and then part of that virus can be removed and put into a new environment. This process is repeated with as many stages as desired, and then the final product is studied, often in comparison with the original virus. This sort of facilitated transmission is often conducted in a laboratory setting, because it is interesting to observe how the virus or bacterium that is being passed evolves over the course of an experiment. In particular, serial passage can be quite useful in experiments that seek to change the virulence of a virus or other pathogen. One consequence of this is that serial passage is useful in creating vaccines, since scientists can apply serial passage and create a strain of virus that has low virulence.[1]… In the in vitro method, a virus or a strain of bacteria will be isolated and allowed to grow for a period of time. After the sample has grown for some time, part of it will be transferred to a new environment and allowed to grow for the same period of time."

So I guess that if "The vaccine was passaged multiple times through mouse brain tissue" this means that the virus for the vaccine was grown for periods of time in mouse brain tissue.


Prayers for you and your family, Maschelle Mashburn.

mary w maxwell

Dear Maschelle Mashburn, Last year at AutismOne, a speaker named Jerry Tennant, MD, introduced his electric theory. You say you go off like a light switch. I recommend you copy and paste your Comment (and my comment here) and send it to Dr Tennant. I feel sure he would be interested and maybe has a remedy? I took his 3-day course and it was wow all the way. The title of his (layperson) textbook is “Healing Is Voltage.” He was bedridden with encephalitis for 7 years but is now as fit as a fiddle. (

I also mention, just for anyone’s general interest, that there was a case here in Australia of a young man with a stroke who came out of his coma-like state when fed Stilnox, trade name for zolpidem. Nobody seems to know why it works. (Aw, c’mon). Regarding your comment on Judy Mikovits, she bit her tongue in the book, as one has to, but let me translate: “Bunch o’crims down thar Ft Detrick way.”
I wrote about her today, saying that her work is game changing. Seriously, seriously game changing. Kent will like this; it's at:,

Maschelle Mashburn

I am too ill with mecfs to type much, or use my former level of concise, well worded language skills. Please excuse the grammatical errors I am certain will be overrunning my comment. I feel this is so important, that I must make the effort.
I have only read this article, twice actually. I'd normally read the book, but cannot follow language well enough anymore. My neurological symptoms flare when I try, and I just go "out". Like a lightswitch has been flipped to the "off" position. Well, actually, it's more like someine flipped the main breaker in the figurative "breaker box" that allows my body to have power for operation. I will be purchasing the book, and raise awareness of this through online sharing.
I am so glad this book has been written! The debacle surrounding the XMRV retrovirus research and all that Scientists'work is appalling and I wondered if she may have been too close to a truth that somebody didn't want advertised. I know her name, but it escapes me, and I am too worried that if I go scrolling up to find it I'll accidentally erase or lose my comment. But the way she was pretty much literally "run out of town" (but not before she grabbed and protected her body of work), looked suspiciously like she was being railroaded and discredited so nothing she said would ever be respected scientifically. An ironic correlation to this books very interesting statement of fact is a comment made by bogus experts speaking at the P2P Workshop for ME/CFS (please! "pathways 2 prevention"? They still don't know what causes ME/CFS, how can we "prevent" it?) was that too many theories are being thrown around based on not conducive enough research and trials, and people are jumping on all these unfounded bandwagons when they still don't even know if ME/CFS is "real" yet. An example being the excitement in the CFS community over the recent claim that XMRV was the culprit that caused ME/cfs, when in fact it was discovered to be a mouse retrovirus; having no connection to humans, or the 1st major outbreak of CFS in this country in the '80s...
How odd. This article alone shows how the gap from mouse retrovirus to human being has been bridged. By immunization and the serum used to give the immune system a "boost", for better uptake of the immunization. I hope people read this, as well as read the book! I was still in utero when my mother, living in navy housing in 1961 in Charleston, SC, was sprayed with DDT in our home by the navy to control pests, like cockroaches, while working in the kitchen. I've was a sickly child, suffer of irritable bowel ALL my life.. yearly bronchitis and strep throat. Panick attacks since the beginning of my life.. Out of the blue. Chronic sinus infections Mono twice and hospitalized with bronchial pneumonia so severe my right lung is scarred, and the non-std version of the Herpes virus.. In high school. My heart races for no known reason and I am on medication for it. I can't stand to be touched, even as a baby. Very bad sensory overload.. Which now is part if the Aspergers diagnosis I received a few years ago. I have two children that both present as having Asperger's. One is 13, and is officially diagnosed. the other 31, and reads like an Aspergers text book. And both of those children appear to be developing ME/CFS. Here's what is so weird.. The older one is my caregiver, the 13 year old is the only child left at home. We live alone. My son (31 yr. Old) is here 5 days a week for the last 6 years. These two are the only people that spend a large part of their time in close proximity to me.. We three have Aspergers and now the two of my 4 children that are in my soace are showing frightening symptoms of cfs. Especially the post exertional malaise. Its new to them both. They were suckly, but not like THIS until the past few years. As if I were somehow contagious. There are so many dots this article is connecting in my situation.. I'm not surprised by the correlations reported therein.
I an so exhausted now. I must stop and push "post" without proofreading.
Good work, and thank you!


Viruses are "passaged" through animal tissues in order to render them less dangerous. The slightly less dangerous viruses are then given to humans in order to build immunity.


But what does it mean? And what is meant by 'less' dangerous?

Kent Heckenlively

Viruses are "passaged" through animal tissues in order to render them less dangerous. The slightly less dangerous viruses are then given to humans in order to build immunity.

Betty Bona

Maybe in the old days of early vaccines they actually did use lumps of fresh mouse brain tissue and passaged the virus through that. I'm not sure what "passaged" means with fresh tissue. Can someone else explain?

Betty Bona

I am not the correct person to describe "passaged" as it relates to vaccine manufacture, but I can tell you in more general laboratory term what "passaged" means. I've worked in labs that maintain cell lines for research. These might be animal or human, cancerous or noncancerous, engineered or wild-type. These cell types are grown in various tissue culture vesicles. Once the cells in a particular vesicle have grown to confluence (no more room for new cells), they need to be split or passaged into a new vesicle to allow for continued growth (they die if they become overcrowded). Typically, a fraction of the cells are removed from the vesicle and transferred to a new vesicle with new growth media. The best labs will keep a record of the passage number and the growth media lot along with any additives used in the growth media.

Cell cultures are sometimes used for experiments, but can also be used to obtain quantities of a protein, virus or plasmid. I don't know whether "passaging" a vaccine virus through animal tissue is done to gain quantities of the virus or to change the virus in some way. I'm assuming that "passaging" with respect to vaccines refers to the splitting of the cell cultures as described above. So if the vaccine is "passaged" in mouse brain tissues multiple times, I picture a cell culture vesicle with mouse brain tissues growing in the vesicle rather than a lump of fresh mouse brain tissue. I don't think it's true (as Brigit says in her comment) that vaccines are no longer passaged in animal tissue, but I don't really know.

Here's an interesting set of guidelines from the FDA to manufacturers about cell culture and vaccines:

Jeannette Bishop


I think it refers to a process to attenuate the virus (though there may be other purposes I'm not aware of).


What does "passaged" mean?


Excellent post. I also read the book and couldn't put it down.
So roughly 2/3 of the medical professionals came down with CFS.
Did the children also receive the serum?
Are there reports of a portion of the 7000 children coming down with CFS?

Kent Heckenlively

And remember, when you finish the book, get those reviews up on Amazon!!!!

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for getting out this important correlation. I didn't know the history of CFS went so far back, and I tell myself I shouldn't be surprised at the other details about the first outbreak of "yuppie flu" ...

When they used immune globulin to treat maternal rubella syndrome they blamed the adverse outcomes in the infants, including autism, on the virus. I wonder if any follow up of the mothers' health after this treatment was conducted?

Here the allopathic use of mercury is also ignored, but the possibility of a viral role from the vaccine seemed necessary to overlook also. Or maybe these were considered and ruled out from the start?

Anne J.

This was an EXCELLENT book!!! I've already shared it with several close family members, including my college-aged daughter who can't put it down. Such an important story! I'm sick of good, ethical scientists being targeted and having their careers ruined, just because they told the truth. Sadly, Dr. Mikovits is not the only one. I'm so glad her story has been made public, so the world can see she did nothing wrong.
We are currently dealing with various "parasites" in our household (all three kids, both NT and ASD). I can't help but think it's related to damage done to their immune systems from their childhood vaccines.
We've traded common (usually mild) childhood illnesses for so many, much more serious chronic problems. We need to protect our future generations. This can't go on!
Maybe 2015 will be the year the autism-vaccine scandal is fully exposed, and those most responsible are held accountable (one can always hope, right)!
In any case, THANK YOU for writing this book (and please keep these types of stories coming)!!! It's such a great way to expose what's happening, since our MSM has totally failed.
Happy New Year to you all at Age Of Autism!

Laura Hayes


I am SO thrilled that you wrote about this part of your book, a part I read just last week. I was thinking to myself, Kent needs to write a condensed version of parts of this book, ESPECIALLY including the info in this chapter to which you're referring (chapter 5). I will be sharing this far and wide. Perhaps it will help many people to understand why they and their loved ones are ill and/or disabled.

The more I learn, the more I try to steer clear of allopathic "medicine." The effects are life-altering and often last for a lifetime, and into the next generation...and they aren't positive effects by any stretch of the imagination.

It's past time for a major paradigm shift. People must focus on methods of protecting, maintaining, and enhancing health through non-poisoned (i.e. non-GMO and organic), nutrient-dense foods, avoidance of the plethora of toxins that surround us, proper rest and exercise, the breast-feeding of babies and keeping them home for as much as possible the first couple months of their lives, an avoidance of medicines (both Rx and OTC), a comfortable, versus breakneck, pace of life, etc.

To repeat another's great quote: Good health does not come through a needle or a pill. Let that be our motto in 2015. Let's all work to make 2015 the year we stop the poisoning of people and all that we need to survive.

Thank you again, Kent, for not only your book, but for this excellent summary of Chapter 5!

Birgit Calhoun

I have bought the book. I really appreciate your pointing out that Thimerosal was included in the first polio vaccine and that it was psssaged through mouse brain with retro-virus. I am anxious to read this book. I hope more information comes out about this passaging which seems to me to be a very dangerous process. I read about some of the practice of passaging in another book, "The River" and I was thoroughly disgusted by what was then being injected in people. Passaging is not done with live tissues any longer. But I still don't trust it. Keep writing what you write about. I hope people will finally listen.

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