The idea of managing lethal epidemics by imposing a quarantine flourished in Italy in the fourteenth century. In their efforts to control the plague, Italian towns regularly put blocks on trade particularly maritime traffic from affected areas.
This seemed sensible and may have worked to some extent. But if you don’t know what is in fact going on it, it is rarely particularly successful. Quarantine didn’t stop the plague and was bad for business. There was a permanent tension between the authorities who had to be seen to do something and people on the ground who had to go on living. And it was almost always the case that improving the living conditions of the poor looked even then as more likely to save lives than quarantine would.
In January 1649, Charles I of England, after a decade of Civil War was executed. His decapitation was/is seen as the culmination of a Civil War with the opposing sides divided by religious belief. Religion was certainly a factor but it was late into the frame.
The original divide between Charles and the English Parliament arose over the question of quarantining the City of London in the face of an oncoming plaque. Charles wanted to impose a quarantine. London, the biggest trading center in the world, objected. This was the point at which the slide into Civil War began.
By 1800, the plague was on the retreat for reasons that are not clear but it was replaced by cholera. Cholera struck European and North American cities at regular intervals causing panic from 1830 through to the end of the century. In New York, in 1832, the authorities wanted to impose a quarantine in the face of a likely arrival of cholera on ships but business objected and it never happened.
Thirty years later with no-one any the wiser as to what caused cholera it began to pop up all over America, in locations over a thousand miles apart with no-one able to explain how or why. A plague had never travelled by train before.
With the development of antibiotics, it looked like we had achieved mastery over epidemic infections until we were faced with AIDS in the 1980s. Just before AIDS appeared, perhaps adding to the panic, the first outbreak of Ebola was reported from the Congo. AIDS also looked like it might have also come from African jungles. Were we facing a new wave of epidemics?
Books like The Outbreak and movies like The Hot Zone, which feature quarantines and the possibility of those breaching the cordon sanitaire being shot, generated perceptions that modern interconnected living might lead to global epidemics. For trains read planes.
A range of different interests jumped on board and stoked Epidemic Fear with alarms about Swine Flu, Avian Flu, and SARs (non)-Epidemics – for pigeons read Internet – caught in blockbuster movies like Contagion.
Real life caught up with fiction in West Africa in 2014 when Ebola struck. A wonderful book Getting to Zero covers the chaos and infighting between organizations from the developed world that descended on Sierra Leone and likely contributed to thousands of unnecessary deaths.
The authors Sinead Walsh and Oliver Johnson detail the debates about quarantine on the ground in badly affected areas where it might have really counted. They figure that when and where quarantine was put in place was on balance unhelpful. It was particularly unhelpful when the international community succumbing to mass hysteria all but quarantined Liberia and Sierra Leone by banning flights.
When it comes to real infections, quarantine is almost a thing of the past. Isolation yes, contact tracing yes, but quarantining entire communities no.
But just as quarantine fades in one sphere, it has become big business in another, promoted ironically by big business. It now applies and is applied in spades to anyone who claims to have an adverse effect from a drug or a vaccine.
The HPV quarantine is the latest instalment and a great example of how the powers that be go about putting a quarantine in place. The strategies include:
This kind of quarantine is good for business. Unlike classic quarantine, it is difficult to see who has the muscle to disrupt it. We are not far off the point where someone breaking a quarantine runs a real risk of being shot. Doctors, for instance, can be struck off which is effectively professional death. This is enough to encourage most of them facing teenage girls suffering from a range of novel difficulties which may be auto-immune to view these girls or their mothers as hysterical – even though there is a growing string of vaccines now reliably linked to auto-immune and other phenomena from Pandemrix to the shingles vaccine, the recent dengue fever vaccine and others.
These quarantines create a hostile environment and are causing immense damage to the climate of healthcare but those in favor of quarantine are climate change denialists and among their number are some of the most powerful corporations on the planet.
If anyone reading this can draw cartoons or is adept with Clip Art it would be great to get some cartoons/images on the lines of the two used here where an official message is translated into something edgier and more relevant for the healthcare jungle we are facing into.Share this:
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
I believe there was a modern historical episode here, which I doubt was very spontaneous. It occurred with a brief article by bio-ethicist Art Caplan which appeared in the Harvard Law Journal in May 2013 ‘Liability for Failure to Vaccinate’ in the wake of the semi-bogus Swansea measles epidemic.
“Measles are breaking out all over Britain. Getting fewer headlines is the fact that measles are back in the USA too. In fact they are in our region. A mini-epidemic is raging in Brooklyn. Measles for cripes sake! The disease that many of us over 60 had as kids that should never occur is back with a vengeance. The reason for the diseases reappearance is simple—failure to vaccinate. Maybe it is time to get tough on those whose choices put others at risk.”
The article was responded to by NYU law professor Mary Holland:
But instead of an answer from Caplan a non-answer from the then unknown but now notorious Dorit Reiss appeared:
In other words a clever but simple manouevre to turn the un-vaccinated into the enemies of society – I don’t think we had ever been on this ground before 2013. It may be noted that later on Reiss was the architect of Senator Pan’s vaccine mandates in California (which followed on an alleged measles outbreak in Disney Land in January 2015), but in the interim she blossomed into being the greatest web troll the earth has ever seen.
Of course, a big part of the ruse was that on the one hand vaccines were almost infallible and on the other hand the vaccinated were greatly risk from the non-vaccinated – it barely made sense but it helped to define a group as target of public hate.
About the measles in Swansea BMJ published a letter from me on 4 May 2013:-
Re: MMR, measles, and the South Wales Evening Post
Dr Anand raises some important questions and in fact the official figures are available until the end of March. It is therefore disturbing to discover that in Swansea the supposed centre of the outbreak there was only 1 confirmed case of measles for the entire month of March, down from 3 in February (2013 – Reports of Measles virus by LHB/LA of residence by month (table 2 of 2)  while notifications were up from 59 to 183 (2013 – Notifications of Measles by LHB/LA of residence by month (table 2 of 2)  Meanwhile, the This is Wales website which is associated with the South Wales Evening Post recorded on Wednesday 27 March ‘Health chiefs say 432 cases had been reported as of Monday this week — up from just over 20 on March 4′.
I think there is some explaining to do. It would obviously be very worrying if people were being told they had measles when it was in fact some lesser illness.
It is perhaps worth considering that Caplan succeeded in ducking out of the difficult questions posed by Holland – evaded professional responsibility for his original foray while Reiss appeared with a lot of legal hot air which didn’t answer the ethical substance at all. One of the first thing I turned up about Reiss at the period was that she was author of an article “The Benefits of Agency Capture” where she could cite the example of aircraft manufacturers being cooperative with agencies over finding the causes of plane crashes – very different from pharmaceutical manufacturers always out to deny everything (as I think she very well knew, even if she knew little else about vaccines).
but the priest, Miguel Pajares, has died.
Experimental Drug to Treat Ebola Tested in 3 Patients as Virus Continues to Spread
a group of ethicists gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) unanimously concluded that it is ethical to offer experimental drugs that have never been tested on humans to fight the virus, even if their effectiveness or adverse effects are unknown.
The UK was criticised by the WHO for suggesting it could begin vaccinating high-risk patients before clinical trials were complete.
Jonathan Irwin Retweeted
Barb Loe, NVIC @NVICLoeDown Aug 9
15 Year Old French Girl’s “Descent into Hell” After Gardasil Vaccine – Wheelchair Bound and Paralyzed
A covert vaccination program..?
If there was a good reason to think that SSRIs could somehow reduce rates of suicide, despite the evidence, the failure to warn about the risks in order to increase the numbers likely to be put on the drugs comes close to a covert vaccination program. All will be treated in the expectation that more will be saved than lost as a result.
A curious vaccination program in that with a vaccine while some lose everyone stands to gain but in this case a majority of those being vaccinated have little or no conceivable gain. A curious vaccination program in that doctors aren’t actively on board with it. They are as much in the dark as to what is going on as everyone else, maybe even more so. They haven’t been told there is a good case to warn but we aren’t going to warn for fear of deterring you from putting as many people on pills as you can.
April 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Of all the dishonest defenses of the widespread prescription of antidepressants, waving the bloody shirt of suicide has got to be the most pernicious.
A Platonic Lie is when a ruler decides to keep the truth from his subjects in what he determines to be their best interests.
Well as we are all seemingly to thick to understand anything scientific by ourselves – maybe if we were given the relevant information ,and importantly were able to trust those who provide it ,we would be willing to accept help from those who do have the necessary skills to unravel the facts as known – and unknown. Quote Andrea Grignolio bioethics teacher ‘with the advent of the internet people have the illusion that they can access and read data by themselves and renounce the need for technical and scientific knowledge’. He entirely misses the point – the technical and scientific knowledge is not available to the public or professionals, so how can we learn to use it ? Democratisation of knowledge is obviously a threat .
The Italian Job has probably been well covered before but the farce the Italians have been been subjected to is incredible. A year ago the plan was to make it mandatory for parents to vaccinate children before enrolling in school with 12 then 10 compulsory vaccines and 4 more voluntary ones- or get fined. Parents were obliged to provide a doctor’s note of confirmation.The farce is in that children would still be allowed enrolled in school if they weren’t vaccinated. If the point was to protect other children by compulsory vaccinations it simply didn’t make sense. If they believed what they were saying about the risk, no un-vaccinated child would have been allowed in school.
The Italian population don’t trust academics. politicians or the medical profession any more than many of us in other countries although it seems Italian politicians may have learned a bit of a lesson about imposing draconian state control over citizens . There are still older citizens with memories of what that has been like in the recent past. What is quite sinister is that there is a National Vaccination Calendar which is linked to all children’s birth dates. Parents are/were obliged to register on this. Maybe there is one in Uk too. Such a calendar can easily be mis-used.
In July 18 the requirement for proof from a doctor was removed and parents could provide their own documentation showing 10 vaccines had been given..(it used to be 12)
August 2018 The law is now to be amended for 1 year again removing compulsory vaccination for 1 year. Will the parents who have been fined get their money returned? – it was between £435 and £6,540
What will the state do about the children who have already been harmed or who have died – including when parents have objected to the vaccinations in the first place? What about doctors who have colluded with such laws – they were complicit in the identification of Jewish and other people on their lists during the last European war – history does repeat itself over and over again.
A quote from a spokesperson promoting the vaccines (friendly but authoritive woman’s voice) claimed that the ‘most serious side effects happen in less than 1 in a million PEOPLE. The word people was slipped into an article about children. So how many CHILDREN were harmed? They are like a bucket of eels.
As still not published after 24 hours my response to BMJ’s report of the Italian debacle:-
There are I believe many things here  which are more confusing to outsiders than Italians, and the politics of these issues have perhaps never been properly rehearsed in the mainstream media even in Italy, not least while last summer many thousands of Italian citizens filled the streets protesting against the “emergency” mandates.
For informed Italians at this stage it may be very hard to distinguish any real menace of measles from political events. Some of these I have documented here and elsewhere, for instance the appointment in September 2014 in the White House of former Italian minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, to head global vaccine strategy [2,3]:
“Washington, 29 September 2014 – Italy will lead vaccination strategies and campaigns in the world over the next five years. This was decided by the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) held last Friday at the White House. Our country, represented by the Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin, accompanied by the President of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) prof. Sergio Pecorelli, has been commissioned by the Summit of 40 Countries, at which also spoke US President Barack Obama….”
Unchanged from February 2015 is the text on an Italian pharmaceutical website of an interview with the “delegated administrator” of GSK Italia, Daniel Finocchiaro [4,5]. “Recently”, he states:
“I accompanied our global CEO, Andrew Witty, to Matteo Renzi. The premier told us clearly that he considers – and rightly so – the pharmaceutical sector as strategic for Italy. Further, he said that the pharmaceutical is precisely the future of our country … I then met also Minister Lorenzin and other members of the government who reiterated the sensitivity of the government to those who invest, create jobs and opportunities for young people. So we started on the right foot.To find such sensitivity in Roman palaces is not to be discounted. As for us, Andrew Witty asked few things: certain rules and stability in the face of very strong investments in advanced research and production equipment. We understood each other.”
Lorenzin also could not have helped matters by distorting the risk of measles telling Italians that 270 children had died in a recent outbreak in London which certainly has no foundation in British government data or anything reported in this journal [5,6].
We might certainly agree with Pier Luigi Lopalco  that manipulation of the debate is unacceptable. We might also ask why if measles is the central concern the previous Italian government attempted to mandate vaccines first against twelve diseases and then ten on the back of that concern?
There needs to be transparency, and their has to be some basis of trust that a draconian and economically discriminatory policy is not being concocted for other reasons than those stated. Briefly there has to be honesty on all sides in these matters – there are issues here which are upsetting Italians of all political shades – and we need even perhaps to understand that initiatives started in the White House can destabilise democracies.
 Marta Paterlini, ‘Italy suspends mandatory vaccination of nursery children after Senate vote’, BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3506 (Published 13 August 2018)
 John Stone, ‘Re: MEPs devise strategy to tackle vaccine hesitancy amongst the public – Echoes of WMD’, 26 March 2018, https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1378/rr
 ‘L’ ACCORDO DI GLAXO CON NOVARTIS «Verona è centrale nello sviluppo Gsk»’ Fedederazione delle Associazioni degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco (FEDAIISF), 28 February 2015, http://www.fedaiisf.it/l-accordo-di-glaxo-con-novartis-verona-e-centrale-nello-sviluppo-gsk/
 John Stone, Written Evidence by Age of Autism, DCMS Committee Inquiry into Fakke News:
 John Stone, ‘Re: Compulsory vaccination and growing measles threat – Prof Melegaro’s response’ https://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3429/rr-7
Today’s break through is another important step on the journey …
August 15, 2018 truthman30 seroxat
Trial Violations Of GSK’s Cervarix In In India…
The Hans India
However, it remained as a silent spectator thereafter, even when its own rules and regulations were being so flagrantly violated. The approvals of clinical trials, marketing approval and import licenses by DCGI appear to be irregular.
V. MARKETING APPROVAL TO HPV VACCINES IN INDIA
Before approving any new drug (including new vaccines), under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, it is mandatory to conduct Phase III clinical trials in India to determine any ethnic differences in the safety and efficacy profiles.
Gardasil (Merck): Clinical trials were conducted on 108 subjects (girls in the age group of 9-15 years). Several violations took place in the trial: (a) trials should have been conducted in adults first before exposing children to known and unknown side effects, (b) in adolescents and children the trials should have been conducted from “top to bottom” age groups i.e. first in adolescents (13-15 years) followed by children (9- 12 years). This was not done. Vaccines were administered to children irrespective of age at the same time.
Cervarix (GSK): Clinical trials were conducted on 162 subjects (adults in the age group of 18-35 years). Yet permission was given to use the vaccine in children (10-14 years) in violation of rules. As various irregularities were found, Government constituted inquiry committee in 2010 to enquire into irregularities. The PSC wanted to know whether conflict of interests of Inquiry Committee members were examined. Ministry said that they have not collected such declarations. The PSC verified Ministry’s claim.
The push for mandatory HPV vaccination – and the demonization of all doubters as anti-science, anti-sex or both – finally seems to have hit a snag. A review of these vaccines by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration had been widely cited as showing they were effective and quite safe. That review has now been exposed as unreliable, in a British Medical Journal (BMJ) article. Written by fellow Cochrane researchers.
Almost half the clinical trials that should have been included were left out, including trials that were never published (about a third of the total) or had no results posted on ClinicalTrials.gov (about half of all trials). Since research on drugs these days is conducted mainly by the drugmakers, it’s safe to assume at least some of those missing studies showed significant side effects and/or raised doubts about the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing cancer.
For those who don’t know about “Cochrane Reviews,” these are research papers that aim to combine and analyze the results of all the clinical trials of a given drug or treatment. This is called a “meta-analysis” and is supposed to lead us to the Holy Grail of Evidence-Based Medicine: objective answers as to which treatments are the most effective and safest.
But as the authors of this expose point out, if the Evidence you analyze is biased and otherwise flawed, your meta-analysis will be just as flawed:
“By the law of Garbage In Garbage Out, whatever we produce in our reviews will be systematically assembled and synthesized garbage with a nice Cochrane logo on it.” https://ebm.bmj.com/content/23/2/46
But also to mention the omission of trials and the fact that all trials were conducted by the manufacturers were only two of the critical problems, which also include the fact that none of the trials was against a genuine placebo, data was incomplete in many cases, none of the trials were for Gardasil 9 which is the product which is now to be used in many countries. These were problems even before we get to the specific failings of the review itself.
It still troubles me that the focus if any is now on the reliability of Cochrane rather than the fact that these products are still being administered to young people, and there is no public coverage of the danger.
John, I think we agree actually. The point is NOT that there was some problem with “the reliability of Cochrane.” In fact, “Cochrane” itself may be good as gold! But if the studies being reviewed are garbage, the conclusions will be garbage too, no matter how brilliant, honest and independent the reviewers. And therefore, we will still be clueless as to the potential for harm.
I think this story is well worth spreading, simply because it explodes the myth that people who question a vaccine – any vaccine – are Enemies of Science. And not just that, but anti-sex, and anti-woman as well.
Here in the USA, the only dissenting voices on the Gardasil question we are allowed to hear are those of religious fundamentalists and plain old sexist pigs. The kind who fear that Gardasil really will free us from worries about cervical cancer, and thus encourage our daughters to be sluts. (They really do want premarital sex to come with terrifying risks, you see, so that young women can be bullied into obedience.)
There are whole platoons of PR agencies whose job is to make sure these are the only dissenting voices we hear, so that we will automatically dismiss any doubts about Gardasil. A popular poster over here spreads the following message of defiance to the Trump administration:
Black Lives Matter
No Human Is Illegal
Love Is Love
Women’s Right Are Human Rights
Kindness Is Everything
Science Is Real
You get the idea. The first five are all value statements about the worth of human beings, and I can endorse them all. Number Six is a statement of fact that in general I agree with. But Number Seven is a statement of faith, not science.
It’s like saying, “I believe in Science, and therefore I believe my doctor is always right.” Nonsense! If he’s been practicing for thirty years or so, he’s been proven wrong several times already. If you actually believe in Science, you have to deal with that. And if you don’t believe your doctor is always right, why on earth should you have that kind of faith in a drug company?
I am absolutely sure we agree and comment was only intended as a supplement. When we get into those statements there are some interesting ironies and tautologies and ironic tautologies, but when we get to “Science is real” what it hides that a great deal of science is real but much which hides under the umbrella of science is pure lies – just because my computer works it doesn’t mean that this or that medicine works.
As to the HPV farrago I was there nearly at the beginning where it there was a phoney controversy deliberately launched between liberals and conservatives – there was stinking “girls only want to have fun” article in the Guardian, which I was blocked from commenting on. What was evident apart from anything else at the time were that it’s benefits would remain speculative for up to four decades while the experiment took place – any girl who thought she was being protected was being duped.
I think anyone with an interest in HPV might like to watch these three short films which include some powerful messages, most especially the ‘passion’ invoking coming from Steve Tunley in Part III who also – says it how it is ..
New HPV Vaccine Documentary: Sacrificial Virgins By Joan Shenton
“Sacrificial Virgins” – A Must-See Film About Young Girls Being Severely Damaged By HPV Gardasil Vaccines
STAT throws up a slant – a Ruskie business ..
Russian bots were used to sow divisions on vaccines, researchers say
By Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell
August 23, 2018
“The more the vaccine ‘debate’… is amplified it gains an undeserved sense of legitimacy and gives vaccine-hesitant individuals a pretense to forgo vaccination for themselves and their children,” said Adalja, who was harshly critical of the use of vaccinations in efforts to turn people against each other, calling it “overtly nihilistic.”
“Vaccination links to deep values around protection, health, harm, and the social contract,” said Julie Leask, an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery who researches vaccine refusal. “People become highly invested in the discussion, and highly reactive to the notion that people refuse vaccines. The expression of sentiment at the margins — very pro- and very anti-vaccine — generates emotional energy and clicks.”
In the study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, Broniatowski and his co-authors focused on Twitter, analyzing tweets from accounts that had been identified as having been operated by Russian trolls, bots, and so-called content polluters whose aim is to disseminate spam and malware. The article is titled “Weaponized Health Communications: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate.”
Noxious attack on the Nordic Cochrane group on Plos blogs by Hilda Bastian. I was not sure whether I had encountered this person before but was astonished to learn from her biog that she superintends medical censorship of Wikipedia and before they shut it down – because of what it was revealing about the vaccine programme and HPV vaccines particularly – Pubmed Commons. She calls the Joergensen paper a hatchet job but she seems to be the hatchet lady par excellence.
It is interesting that her column’s title is another oxymoron like Gorski’s Respectful Insolence. Or as the witches in Macbeth had it “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”.
It’s not a good look …
David Robert Grimes
I’m a scientist, not a journalist. I do however study conspiracy theory academically, and you know what one of the biggest drivers of belief is? Ego. The idea that you “know” more than some expert or professor because you spent 5 minutes on google. Honestly, it’s not a good look.
I’m not anti-vax, but…..
O’Doherty’s supporters are piling onto twitter now in a counter-offensive, demanding those critical of her stances find proof of her stating that she’s anti-vaccine. But here’s the thing – most anti-vaxxers do not define themselves as such, in much the same way very few racists call themselves racist. Andrew bloody Wakefield doesn’t claim to be “anti-vaccine”. Anti-vaccine activists will more often claim they’re claim they’re pro “safe” vaccines, or “just asking questions”. But this is just a semantic game – if you are happy to amplify the claims of anti-vaccine groups whilst completely ignoring the overwhelming evidence of safety and efficacy then you’re hardly acting in good faith. If you only question the scientific evidence but give any old anecdote a few pass, then you’re evidently stacking the deck. Your actions define whether you are anti-vaccine (or racist, or misogynist etc) or not, your self identification is pretty much irrelevant.
Grimes is a modern day scientist like David Gorski or Hilda Bastian i.e. their first resort is to invective. But this is the paradox: if they don’t want people to be “ant-vax” either according to their definition or because they are permanently cheesed off by the ultra-aggressive claims of the industry they ought to start listening, instead of dealing out the punishment all the time.
You mean they are stimulating an immune response? They are the aluminium acting as an adjuvant?
Absolutely. And what does it mean if you have to maintain such a level of public control to get a favourable response!