This is why we will never get rid of tuberculosis and other diseases

After Ren had his information illegally (in my non-lawyer opinion) posted on the “Vaccine Resistance Movement” Facebook page, I decided to dive into that cesspool and see what other kinds of stupidity were there. One of the first posts I read in that sea of stupidity was this post from a woman’ we’ll call “HS” (though you can see her name if you choose to click on the link):


If the stupidity of her comment doesn’t come through right away, let me explain. Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial disease of the lungs that is very infectious. All you need is to share some sort of space with a person with TB to get infected. You might feel fine for a while, but TB eventually evades your immune system and you get active TB. With active TB, you are free to infect others and keep alive this disease that has been around for thousands of years and killing millions of people. Soon after it goes active, TB will destroy your lungs and continue to propagate throughout your body. If you’re lucky and live in a place where you can have access to care, you get antibiotics and eventually get better, though not without losing a lot of lung function. If you’re really unlucky, you get disseminated TB that eats up your bones, brain, etc. And, if you’re lucky after that, you die.

In developed nations, TB can be detected and treated quickly and effectively. You get a skin test or a blood test for screening, and then you get antibiotics for a few months if you’re positive. The antibiotics need to be given for a few months because tuberculosis is a slow-growing organism, and just a few bacteria cells evading your immune system or the antibiotics can really do a number on you. In developing nations, TB can be more complicated. There is difficulty accessing screening and treatment, and housing conditions can be such that TB spreads easily.

So why should HS worry if her immune system is doing a heck of a job keeping the TB in check, as she says? Because the immune system can only do so much. It’s not as if the bacteria have stopped multiplying. The bacteria are just encased in a tubercle created by the immune reaction. Should the immune system be recruited to do something else, or be toned down because of something like pregnancy, allergy medication, or administration of steroids, then the tubercle is no longer held up and the bacteria run free, kicking off the active infection I described above.

But HS shouldn’t worry, right? “TJM” and others have given her all sorts of assurances that she will be fine. None of the people who have done so are licensed healthcare providers as far as their Facebook profiles are concerned. And I’m willing to bet that they’re not licensed healthcare providers because any provider worth their salt would not give her idiotic advice such as:

“Think about seeing a naturopath or homeopath for remedy.”

Neither homeopathy nor naturopathy have been proven effective against TB.

“Almost everyone who goes through medical school (or a lot of the students who complete medical school, incl. probably your own doctor) test positive on the tyne/skin scratch test for TB by the time of graduation … I know of none of these doctors who ever either developed TB or even worried about it.”

They don’t worry about it because they take the antibiotics and are clear of it. Should they test positive again, they take the antibiotics again. They know better.

“Dont know where you live but the big hospitals…cleveland and mayo…clinics now mix traditional and holistic meds…drs…you might try one of the two hospitals.”

If Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic treat TB with anything other than antibiotics, they will probably have a lot of explaining to do to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and to their respective medical boards.

“antibiotics harm your immune system”

Two people like that stupid statement, sadly.

“Look into herbs. I’m sure an herbalist could help you fight this!!”

That’s probably why there is such a huge incidence of TB in cultures that rely mostly on herbal and traditional medicine.

HS is not the only one being taken for a ride in that echo chamber.

Here’s someone we’ll call “AA” whose son appears to be having some lung problems:


What do the healthcare experts in the “Vaccine Resistance Movement” recommend for her to do?

“Do a search on holistic remedies!! If you only do a search for help with pneumonia, you only get the same kind of results from Dr’s you may consult. But, if you search with the words holistic remedies or approach, you get a lot of new and in my opinion much more valuable and effective information!!”

In her opinion? Yeah, you should always follow the opinion of anti-vaccine, 9/11 truther strangers on the internet.

“Get a doctor to give him IV vit C and also give him Liposomal vit C. I’ve heard wonderful things about vit c lately, particularly in regard of respiratory problems”

Liposomal vitamin C? Don’t Google for it. You’ll want to poke your eyes out.

“If it was me I’d be nebulizing colloidal silver for a bacterial lung infection. I haven’t touched antibiotics in over fifteen years… a thought though, could he have whooping cough? (nebulizing CS is exactly what I’d do for whooping cough).”

I guess this person wants the baby to turn blue. I also went through a stretch of about 20 years where I didn’t need antibiotics. It was because I was young and fought off infections well. Now that I’m older, I need them mostly as prophylaxis because I’m going into some very “biologically active” areas around the world (and a couple here at home, but usually inside research facilities) where antibiotics keep me from getting some serious things.

“Cranberry tincture, franks toothache tincture, probiotics and mega doses of vit c!! I’m in the exact same boat! And at first they said phnemonia now it’s RSV, we were in hospital 2 days there drugs didn’t work! So they sent me home and I started my own schedule of meds! Day 4 she’s almost completely better!”

Imagine that! A child got better after four days, two of which were under the care of people who know what they’re doing. Amazing! It must have been the cranberry tincture. Ah, but when her son is sick, she rushes him to a children’s hospital.

And so on and so forth…

The Vaccine Resistance Movement Facebook page is chock-full of postings about how vaccines are evil, how vaccines are made to make us all sick, how reptilians rule the world, how 9/11 was an inside job, how the members of the VRM are the only ones in the whole wide world to be “awake,” etc. Their leader, a Canadian by the name of Joel Lord, is a guy who hasn’t heard a conspiracy that he didn’t like. For example, Ebola started with a malaria vaccine, because he says so.

The unfortunate thing for all of us is that these groups continue to propagate on Facebook and other social media. Echo chambers, secret (which aren’t really secret) and public, are disseminating some very dangerous information. In the case of HS above, she might develop active TB and infect dozens of people by the time it’s all said and done. In the case of AA, her child might die from a serious lung condition. But all that doesn’t seem to matter to people in those groups as long as others are “awakened” to the dangers of vaccines or some stupid idea like that.

Fortunately for me, these idiots will keep me employed and making good money for the rest of my life as I go from outbreak to outbreak, and teach from one public health program to the next. So I guess it’s a conflict of interest for me to try and stop them, but what the hell… I’ve made enough money already.


5 thoughts on “This is why we will never get rid of tuberculosis and other diseases

  1. I wish it was as simple as people (presumably fully capacitated adult) doing dumb things to themselves only. But that is rarely the case with diseases whether infectious or not which is why the ignorant advice given over the interwebz is so odious to us. How can we have come so far with access to information only to witness medieval-type “old wives tales” and ridiculous folklore spread at blazing speed?

  2. I’m not sure which would be worse, HS not getting any treatment for her latent TB, or getting Abx and no completing the course. Either way, she’s being extraordinarily dumb.

  3. There ought to be a mechanism by which we can ensure that people who seek medical advice from random strangers on the internet never have children. In fact, I’d extend that to pets, as well.

    Dose/kill yourself if you’re that stupid but don’t do it to the helpless creature that is in your (alleged) care.

    • To hazard a guess about the child, it sounds like the child has cystic fibrosis (although, there are a few other genetic defects that can do similar things, CF is the most common).
      That child has no chance to survive if she continues with the quackery. Then, she’ll likely be prosecuted and end up in prison, leaving any other family members in safer care than under her quackery care.

      As for TB woman, my mother’s family was quarantined for TB when my maternal grandfather contracted TB and later died of the disease.
      Perhaps, it’s time to revisit quarantine for those idiotic enough to decline treatment.

      • wzrd1: I read most of the comments re: the baby, and he has a genetic syndrome with 49 chromosomes. Most of his issues are related to that, it appears.

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