Sudden death epidemic: Excess mortality among young, middle-aged Americans skyrockets

If these trends continue at this same rate, it’s an absolute disaster for our economy and society at large.

Featured Image

tommaso79/Shutterstock

https://www.lifesitenews.com/author/dr-joseph-mercola/

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • In his new book, “Cause Unknown: The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022,” former BlackRock fund manager Edward Dowd details data showing the COVID shots are a crime against humanity.
  • Insurance industry research in 2016 concluded that group life policyholders die at one-third the rate of the general U.S. population, so they’re the healthiest among us. Group life policyholders are those employed with Fortune 500 companies, who tend to be younger and well-educated.
  • In 2020, the general U.S. population had higher excess mortality than group life holders, but in 2021, that flipped. Ages 25 through 64 of the group life policyholders suddenly experienced 40 percent excess mortality, compared to 32 percent in the general population. In short, a far healthier subset of the population suddenly died at a higher rate than the general population.
  • American disability statistics are equally revealing. In the five years before COVID, the monthly disability rate was between 29 million and 30 million. After the COVID jabs, the disability trend changed dramatically. As of September 2022, there were 33.2 million disabled Americans ­– an extra 3.2 million to 4.2 million – a three standard deviation rate of change since May 2021.
  • Since May 2021, the overall U.S. population has experienced an 11 percent increase in disabilities, while the employed – which is about 98 million out of a total population of about 320 million – experienced 26 percent increased rate of disability. So, something was introduced into the workforce that caused working age people to die.

(Mercola) – In this video, I interview repeat guest Edward (Ed) Dowd, a former analyst and fund manager with BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world. With more than $10 trillion in assets, BlackRock wields greater financial power than any country in the world with the exception of the U.S. and China.

Dowd has a knack for seeing trends, and was able to grow the assets he managed during his time at BlackRock from $2 billion to $14 billion. Ten years ago, he left BlackRock, moved to Maui, and became an entrepreneur. More recently, he’s come out as a whistleblower against the COVID shots and Big Pharma corruption.

In our last interview, we discussed the mathematical certainty of a financial collapse, and how COVID provided a convenient smoke screen to hide this reality.

Data reveal crimes against humanity

Dowd has now published a book, “Cause Unknown: The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022,” in which he details the data showing the shots are a crime against humanity.

“When this product [the COVID shots] came to market, I was very suspicious because I know a lot about health care” Dowd says. “I was on Wall Street and I used to analyze health care stocks. I knew that normal vaccines took seven to 10 years to prove effectiveness and safety.”

He added:

This was an experimental vaccine, a non-traditional gene therapy that had never been tested on humans. I read the literature on the animal tests and they were an abomination. Then, this thing was approved in 28 days. They got rid of the control group. I knew it was Operation Warp Speed, so I was highly suspicious of this whole thing from the get-go.

Then in early 2021, I started hearing anecdotes that people were getting sick and/or injured, or died, from distant friends and relatives. I started reading about sudden athlete deaths, [and] suspected the vaccine right away. I didn’t have the data that I have now, but I said to myself, ‘You know, I’m going to look at insurance company results, funeral home results.’

That eventually led to excess mortality statistics… I’m known as ‘the excess mortality guy’ right now. What I’ve learned through my own personal experience is that Pharma is, on the whole, mostly fraudulent. Most drugs that have been approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] aren’t really all that safe and effective.

They have to recall so many drugs every year. The FDA has been wholly captured by the pharma industry. 70 to 75 percent of the drug approval pharma arm of the FDA comes from pharma fees, directly from the companies, so this has been corrupted for a long time.

It’s now exposed primarily because [the COVID shot] is [injuring and killing] such a large amount of people. It’s hard to hide this one… This fraud is unveiled and out there for people to see, but it’s only in the echo chamber. Mainstream media is still beholden to Big Pharma because of all the ad spend and the government policymakers… [who] want this to go away.

There’s a giant cover-up going on as far as I’m concerned. The data that I’m going to talk about today is there for the global health authorities to see. They see what I see, and at this point it’s negligence, malfeasance, a cover-up and a crime.

That’s why I’m here, because I don’t believe anybody has a right to tell me what to do with my body, and I can’t believe this actually happened. The numbers I’m going to reveal to you are now a national security concern.

Group life insurance statistics tell a curious story

Dowd’s concerns are based on a variety of statistics, including but not limited to government mortality and disability data, as well as data from private insurance companies, such as group life insurance data. As explained by Dowd, group life policies are policies given to large Fortune 500 corporations and mid-sized companies.

Basically, when you start to work at one of these companies, you sign onto a policy from day one that includes a health care plan and life insurance plan (death benefit), which is typically one or two times your annual salary. The only way you can get a claim on these policies is if you die while employed. If you quit or get fired, you don’t get this claim.

There’s a “Died Suddenly” Epidemic…One Expert Went Through the Data and Reveals The “Coverup”

I don’t need to tell you that there’s a problem. You can see what’s happening with your own eyes. Over the past year or so, there has been a strangely large number of healthy, young people who are “dying suddenly.” These poor people are dropping like flies at an alarming rate. At first, stories of young, healthy people “dying suddenly” were peppered here and there, but now, there are so many of these stories, that I can’t keep up with them. And just imagine how many of these “sudden deaths” aren’t being talked about in the media.

Scary thought. 

Well, it’s gotten so bad, that people are now taking notice and talking about the “Died Suddenly” phenomenon. And one of those people is a former BlackRock fund manager who has poured through the data and what he found, is startling.

Lifestite reported that in his new book, “Cause Unknown: The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022,” former BlackRock fund manager Edward Dowd details data showing the COVID shots are a crime against humanity.

Insurance industry research in 2016 concluded that group life policyholders die at one-third the rate of the general U.S. population, so they’re the healthiest among us. Group life policyholders are those employed with Fortune 500 companies, who tend to be younger and well-educated.

In 2020, the general U.S. population had higher excess mortality than group life holders, but in 2021, that flipped. Ages 25 through 64 of the group life policyholders suddenly experienced 40 percent excess mortality, compared to 32 percent in the general population. In short, a far healthier subset of the population suddenly died at a higher rate than the general population.
American disability statistics are equally revealing. In the five years before COVID, the monthly disability rate was between 29 million and 30 million. After the COVID jabs, the disability trend changed dramatically. As of September 2022, there were 33.2 million disabled Americans ­– an extra 3.2 million to 4.2 million – a three standard deviation rate of change since May 2021.

Since May 2021, the overall U.S. population has experienced an 11 percent increase in disabilities, while the employed – which is about 98 million out of a total population of about 320 million – experienced 26 percent increased rate of disability. So, something was introduced into the workforce that caused working age people to die.

Edward Dowd goes on to say:

This was an experimental vaccine, a non-traditional gene therapy that had never been tested on humans. I read the literature on the animal tests and they were an abomination. Then, this thing was approved in 28 days. They got rid of the control group. I knew it was Operation Warp Speed, so I was highly suspicious of this whole thing from the get-go.

Then in early 2021, I started hearing anecdotes that people were getting sick and/or injured, or died, from distant friends and relatives. I started reading about sudden athlete deaths, [and] suspected the vaccine right away. I didn’t have the data that I have now, but I said to myself, ‘You know, I’m going to look at insurance company results, funeral home results.’

That eventually led to excess mortality statistics… I’m known as ‘the excess mortality guy’ right now. What I’ve learned through my own personal experience is that Pharma is, on the whole, mostly fraudulent. Most drugs that have been approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] aren’t really all that safe and effective.

They have to recall so many drugs every year. The FDA has been wholly captured by the pharma industry. 70 to 75 percent of the drug approval pharma arm of the FDA comes from pharma fees, directly from the companies, so this has been corrupted for a long time.

It’s now exposed primarily because [the COVID shot] is [injuring and killing] such a large amount of people. It’s hard to hide this one… This fraud is unveiled and out there for people to see, but it’s only in the echo chamber. Mainstream media is still beholden to Big Pharma because of all the ad spend and the government policymakers… [who] want this to go away.

There’s a giant cover-up going on as far as I’m concerned. The data that I’m going to talk about today is there for the global health authorities to see. They see what I see, and at this point it’s negligence, malfeasance, a cover-up and a crime.

I really encourage you to read the entire piece over at Lifesite. Click here.

Flashback: Fauci’s NIH funded experiments on AIDS orphans in New York City

Flashback: Fauci’s NIH funded experiments on AIDS orphans in New York City

Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) “began testing drugs on its orphan population in 1992

by WorldTribune Staff, October 26, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved drug trial experiments on hundreds of AIDS orphans in New York City. Over 200 of the orphans died during or after the experiments, according to Liam Scheff, the investigative reporter who broke the story.

The Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) “began testing drugs on its orphan population in 1992, the same year they became a subsidiary of Columbia University’s Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trial Unit, under Dr. Anne Gershon,” Scheff noted. “In 2003, I went undercover inside the facility and saw the effects of the drugs on the children myself.”‘These children were, because of their HIV status, written off as a loss by the medical authority, before they even got a chance to live.’

Scheff broke the story in an article entitled The House that AIDS Built that first ran on Indymedia.org.

Scheff said his investigation found that the NIH and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital acted unethically.

The Associated Press reported in June 2005: “The government has concluded at least some AIDS drug experiments involving foster children violated federal rules designed to ensure vulnerable youths were protected from the risks of medical research.”

Fauci was the NIH AIDS Coordinator before being appointed as the first Director of the Office of AIDS research when the office was established in 1988. He served in that capacity until 1994. Fauci became director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984 and still holds that position.

Scheff reported several deaths in children at the ICC during the drug trials, adding that “although the mainstream denied that any deaths were due to drug toxicity, they admit that over 200 children died.”

In 2005, the City of New York hired the VERA Institute to produce a final report on the drug trials. VERA was given no access to medical records for any of the children used in trials. Their report was published in 2008.

VERA reported that 25 children died during the drug studies, that an additional 55 children died following the studies (in foster care), and, according to Tim Ross, Director of the Child Welfare program at VERA (as of 2009), 29 percent of the remaining 417 children who were used in drug studies had died (out of a total 532 children that are admitted to have been used).

No payment or compensation was ever paid to any of the children used in the trials, or to their families, Scheff noted.

Many of the drugs (like AZT and its analogues) that were used in the experiments on the AIDS orphans in New York City had previously been approved for use in adults and “evidenced life-threatening and fatal toxicities,” Scheff reported. “So why put a drug with severe recorded toxicities into a population of black and Hispanic orphans?”

Scheff noted: “Incarnation’s orphans live at the bottom of the American class system. Often the children of drug users, they were born into ill health and poverty. Additionally (and like all AIDS patients), these children were, because of their HIV status, written off as a loss by the medical authority, before they even got a chance to live.”

Anthony Fauci

Why wasn’t Fauci’s NIH interested in competitive AIDS research?

“That’s the billion-dollar question,” Scheff noted. “That is, if inexpensive micronutrients and competitive disease and treatment models prove more successful than the current research, it will represent a loss of billions for the AIDS drug and research industry.”

The Forgotten Side of Medicine ~ How Corruption Dictates the Practice of Medicine

Steve Kirsch recently wrote an excellent article highlighting three “scientists” whose guideline recommendations were ultimately responsible for the deaths of nearly a million Americans. 

To summarize: It shows that there are dozens of treatments for COVID-19 that have numerous peer reviewed studies demonstrating their efficacy.  Despite those existing therapeutics and countless petitions for their usage, the committee responsible for developing the guidelines on what is an appropriate treatment for COVID-19 has only approved remdesivir, which is a toxic drug with no therapeutic value for treating COVID-19.  As a result, a dangerous drug has been mandated, while many drugs that would save lives are prohibited in most medical systems.

Evidence based medicine is commonly thought to mean “the best evidence” dictates the standard of care. In reality, it typically means financial interests dictate the standard of care and “evidence” is just used as a smokescreen to justify profiteering. This table that I initially discovered from Kirsch’s article provides clear and unambiguous proof of that contention. See if you can figure out what the circled drugs (those which received an EUA) all have in common!

Because I expected the conflicts of interests of the committee that determined the COVID-19 treatment guidelines to follow the typical pattern, I did some digging and discovered a lovely web of corruption that entangled many of its members.  The purpose of this article is to explain the typical pattern and illustrate how it was followed in this case.  I am doing this because I believe the first step to moving beyond that pattern is to recognize its existence. For those of you who do not need the context, please skip ahead to the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines section.

Introduction

There are two ways you can observe most organizational systems:

•As someone trapped inside the system observing their surroundings.

•As an outside observer who sees the entire system as a whole.

Since we typically do not explore or examine systems that are outside our everyday lives, we will typically experience the first type of observation. This occurs after life circumstances force us to become stuck in a system, which happened to many of us who were swept into the maelstrom of COVID-19.

Two of my central principles for understanding the architecture of modern society have been the relentless creation of hierarchal systems and the monopolization of resources that are essential for life. 

In regard to the first principle, no matter where you look, a typical pattern is always followed: a hierarchy is established, significant investment is created to establish the importance of the hierarchy, and the top of the hierarchal pyramid is bought out (often through bribes) so that a small investment at the top can be leveraged to control an entire population. 

In regard to the second, those with obscene fortunes seem to always find ways to monopolize resources essential for life and transform them from something each person can independently produce to something they must continually work to obtain. For example, it is extremely common after communist revolutions that the independent farmers in the nation will either be prohibited from farming or executed, allowing agriculture to be transitioned to a state-run enterprise.  Once this happens, everyone is forced to work for the state or starve, which leads them to becoming obedient subjects that can be easily exploited for their labor.

In most cases when the monopolization of a life essential resource occurs, the new approach is hailed as a technological miracle and this is used to encourage people to let go of their traditional and self-sufficient approach. The new “miraculous” approach is initially deemed “superior” but before long turns out to be worse than the now abandoned initial approach.

The Green revolution is an excellent example of this (more and more fertilizers herbicides and pesticides are needed to produce the same agricultural input). For example, Bill Gates, under the guise of “charity,” has frequently made people in Africa abandon their traditional self-sufficient forms of agriculture and switch to modern chemical-intensive industrial agriculture. Before long, this spikes their price of food and farming supplies (which must be purchased from a multinational corporation like Monsanto). As we are now hitting an unprecedented global wave of fertilizer and food inflation, it is likely that millions who were coaxed into abandoning their traditional forms of agriculture will starve to death.

I have similar reservations about our current transition to green energy technologies. I know of numerous proven effective technologies that could lessen the environmental impact of our energy consumption. However, none of the technologies currently being evaluated meet this fundamental criteria. Instead, each one further centralizes control over this life essential resource, and in the future will likely be used to significantly limit unauthorized consumption of energy or transportation once our existing fossil fuel infrastructure is displaced. For example in light of recent political developments, concerns have begun to be raised over the switches existing in electric cars that can turn them off remotely.

Medical Inflation

Those two principles (rigid hierarchal organization and monopolization of a life essential resource) also happened with the medical industry and really kicked into gear when the Rockefellers (and to some extent Carnegie) bought the AMA and invested a great deal of money into standard medicine (often called “allopathic” or “biomedical” medicine).  A variety of competing schools of medicine were removed from the United States, and the practice of medicine was monopolized (those curious to learn more can find more details in this freely available classic).

This proved to be an excellent investment and the effect of this monopolization is striking:

Numerous changes in society emerged to support this medical paradigm. Some of the most important were as follows:

•Society was conditioned to believe that they needed a doctor to be healthy, rather than health being viewed as something each individuals was empowered to seek for themselves. This effectively created an unlimited demand for medical services, and as the above graphs show, an ever-growing need for medical spending. Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich was the earliest work I was able to locate detailing this change and its consequences.

•Things that genuinely improve public health (and thereby reduce medical expenses) are typically not allowed to emerge, while pointless initiatives that do not improve public health (water fluoridation or annual flu shots) are continually promoted. Likewise, basic health education is not taught to most people, and instead health behaviors developed by corporate interests constitute the majority of “health education” (industry funded nutrition textbooks for example are very common in college courses). In short, there are dozens of simple and obvious policy changes that many have independently identified which could rapidly improve public health and save a lot of money, but despite decades of campaigning to enact them, most have never been adopted.

•Hundreds (or possibly thousands) of highly effective medical treatments for common diseases have been kept off the market to preserve the market for expensive but ineffective treatments that often require lifelong purchasing. For example, prior to the legislative battle to legalize acupuncture, I remember cases where Chinese immigrants were raided at gunpoint for practicing acupuncture in their own community without a license. For those interested, I’ve spent decades tracking those “forgotten cures” down, and while I have found many that for one reason or another were oversold and didn’t really work, I also found many others that were highly effective.

•Every medical service or product is designed to encouraged the consumption of more medical services or products.

•A rigid hierarchy was created to support this monopoly.

Medical Hierarchies

The first hierarchy relates to the right to practice medicine. A large debate exists over whether or not a license should be required to practice medicine. The trade-off is that if no license is required, unqualified practitioners who might harm the public are allowed to practice, while if a license is required, the practice of medicine is monopolized (making medicine much more expensive) and medical practitioners are unable to provide life saving medicines they believe in.

I will now examine a few levels of this hierarchy:

•Medical boards have the power to pull the licenses (and hence careers) of any physician who does something “bad.” Unfortunately, since medical board members are directly appointed by governors, they often end up with crooked and corrupt members (one colleague who served on a midwestern medical board attested to this). Some of the reasons why medical boards exercise their authority are definitely valid, but many others are done to target physicians who step outside the line of what prevailing interests want done. This has happened for a long time. Here are a few examples:

1. After SB 276 was signed in 2019, writing vaccine exemptions was for all practical purposes outlawed in California and I heard of numerous cases where doctors wrote a single justified exemption and then had their license terminated. For this reason, doctors in California will not even write exemptions for patients who nearly died from their first COVID-19 vaccine (ie. from anaphylaxis or a heart attack).

2. The federation of state medical boards put out a statement that publicly promoting any type of COVID “misinformation” (ie. mask efficacy, early treatment options, vaccine safety concerns) could be used to take away a physician’s license.

3. Physicians have had their license suspended for using early treatment options that have FDA approval for other conditions.

The experiences of Robert Malone’s colleague Meryl J. Nass MD is a well known example of the above, but there are many others as well.

As you might imagine, it is quite easy for corporate interests to influence the composition of medical boards (as they are composed of individuals appointed by the governor). In the late 1990s the opioid manufacturers concocted the idea of having present levels of pain be the 5th vital sign and hence measured at every visit.

Since their opioids had “no addictive potential” once this epidemic of “unrecognized” pain emerged (since everyone was encouraged to say they were in pain) the manufacturers managed to lobby the medical boards into taking the position that failing to treat pain with an opioid as malpractice. Once that happened, to protect their licenses, any physicians who had hesitations providing opioids to patients started giving out opioids like candy and this created the current opioid epidemic which has been beyond devastating for many poorer regions of the USA. The problem is massive; hundreds of thousands of people have died from drug overdoses since COVID (which is a figure comparable to the death count from COVID).

•It is very difficult for physicians to work privately in independent practice (a variety of factors have been put in place to force this change over the last 10-20 years). Instead they are required to work at corporate, federal or state jobs where they are largely at the mercy of the institution they work for to follow its policies.

It is for this reason that as soon I was able to, I stopped working for an institution that controlled my practice of medicine.

During the pandemic, many physicians who had serious concerns about the existing approach towards COVID-19 attempted to do things differently, and were frequently shut down by their institution. This led to physicians being fired for not telling their patients the vaccine was “safe and effective” and others such as Paul Marik MD having to sue their hospital in order to be permitted to prescribe a treatment they felt could save the lives of their patients (where no effective treatment was currently available and the patients were frequently expected to die otherwise). Trump’s “Right to Try” law was meant to address this issue, but corporate management has largely superseded it.

•Everyone in medicine is taught to defer to the judgement of a doctor. Hence if you want to do some type of medical treatment and the doctor does not “approve” it, you can’t. In nursing textbooks, it is repeatedly hammered in to always defer to a doctor’s judgement. Nurses typically spend significantly more time with patients where they can see and in their hearts question the human cost of an enforced medical regimen. In contrast, physicians (the ones with authority over the patient), due to their time constraints, typically spend very little time with their patients and are much more detached and isolated from them. This results in bypassing the human connection that should be necessary in medical decision making being bypassed. This type of organizational structure has been used in numerous inhumane systems in the past.

Similarly, many individuals who have found their loved ones in the hospital have been told that unless the supervising doctor approves it, they cannot have any other type of therapy administered. Since many hospitals would not change their policy, numerous lawsuits have been filed to permit patients expected to die to receive ivermectin for example. To my knowledge, in each case where the lawsuit ordered ivermectin to be administered, the drug then saved the patient’s life.

To further illustrate this hierarchy, I know a few physicians with active medical licenses who were hospitalized for COVID-19. Each told me during their hospital stay their that care was continually mismanaged, they had to constantly be on the alert for a fatal medical error, and many of their reasonable requests were not approved by the doctor supervising their hospital care.

•Medical schools to a large extent select for individuals who do not challenge the system, and once in medical school, they rigidly target anyone who is not compliant and obedient to the existing hierarchy to ensure that they will not graduate.

The medical education process is extremely difficult (you have to work brutal hours which break a certain number of medical students and resident physicians each year, and suicide is quite common) and many aspects of the education could be equated to a form of hazing. These types of experiences are known to produce subservience to a system and have been utilized in many fields besides medicine throughout history.

Finally, there is a massive financial cost to become a doctor (most physicians now graduate with between $200,000 to $400,000 of debt at ~7% interest) which leaves many doctors who want to do things differently being completely unable to challenge this system.

The second hierarchy is “medical evidence.” When evidence based medicine was initially introduced, it was a very good and needed paradigm. Many horrific and harmful practices were in wide usage that evidence based medicine had relegated to the dustbins of history. However, medical evidence also follows a hierarchy which rejects foreign or competing ideas, and the upper levels of this hierarchy is bought out by pharmaceutical interests. Here are some examples:

•In order for a study to “matter,” it has to be published in a prestigious journal. The problem is that with the occasional exception of the British Medical Journal, none of the prestigious journals will ever publish studies which go against the existing narrative. “Controversial” studies that merit publication are continually rejected, while bad studies that support mainstream views are regularly published.

One of the better-known recent examples involved The Lancet publishing a study showing hydroxychloroquine was unsafe and ineffective, which was used to end trials of HCQ globally. This study used blatantly fake data and was eventually retracted after readers complained.

The Journal of the American Medical Association appears to be the most biased publication in this regard, and in most cases you can predict what an entire article will say on a topic before you even read it (ie. does the COVID vaccine have any possible harm associated with it…no). The one interesting exception I have seen to this was a recently published study debunking the use of ivermectin. Here the conclusion of the article argued against the use of ivermectin, while the actual data argued for it, raising the possibility the authors phrased the conclusion to say the opposite of their results so that JAMA would publish the study (it is very common for conclusions in journal articles to not be representative of their results).

•In order for a study to be published in most journals, it has to pass “peer review.” In most cases, peer review will hold ideas challenging the existing narrative to either a high standard or an impossible-to-meet standard. Conversely, if an idea agrees with existing narratives, it is held to a very low standard in order to be published. This is an extremely common issue and why much of the most useful research I come across is not published in peer reviewed journals.

•In order for a study to be conducted, it frequently needs approval from the FDA (or an equivalent) and in most settings needs approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB). In general, it is very difficult to get approval from the FDA to conduct any type of study unless a lot of money is behind the endeavor (for example I was familiar with multiple teams who had safe and effective treatments for COVID with supporting data that nonetheless could not receive FDA approval to begin their human trials). Similarly, despite the fact that extremely unethical human experiments are often conducted under an IRB, IRBs typically will not approve “controversial” research, leading to it not being done.

As a result, I frequently hear of fascinating therapeutic discoveries made outside the normal research process through trial and error that greatly benefit those who receive them, but in most cases these approaches can never be published because no IRB is willing to evaluate them. An excellent 2016 article published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (a group that has also continually advocated for COVID patients) summarizes how many actually useful medical discoveries are made in independent clinical practice, but the recent hierarchal shifts in medicine have made it so this process is becoming continually rarer and rarer.

The accepted practice of medicine is also a hierarchy largely dictated by “medical evidence.” The existing hierarchal structure here makes it so that contrary research that does end up being published nonetheless is prevented from challenging the status quo. I will review some key examples:

•Medical practice is largely determined by “guidelines” that each physician is expected to follow. In most cases if you follow existing guidelines (ie. don’t treat someone with COVID until they have respiratory failure, then put them on a ventilator and give them remdesivir), you get paid and cannot get in trouble. If you do not follow guidelines, it becomes possible for you to be sued for medical malpractice, health care systems will fire you, and medical boards may take your license.

To illustrate physician attachment to guidelines: Throughout the pandemic I have participated in an online forum that approximately 100,000 US healthcare workers use. As you would imagine, the general mentality there is very conventional. One of the more interesting things I noticed in the early days of the pandemic was health care providers desperately asking for and enthusiastically sharing COVID-19 treatment guidelines from various academic institutions, while at the same time aggressively shooting down independent suggestions or ideas raised by individual physicians.

Guidelines are supposed to be made by impartial committees of experts tasked with reviewing the existing evidence in order to determine the most appropriate guidelines. In reality, as pointed out in Steve Kirsch’s article, these committees are extremely biased, and selectively choose evidence supporting the prevailing narrative.

In most cases, the decision of these unelected guideline committees goes unchallenged and even though they should not be (as discussed later), they are in effect the law.

The only exception I know of occurred when the Lyme community sued the Infectious Disease Society of America (which has also published widely cited COVID treatment guidelines I and others strongly disagree with). The lawsuit challenged IDSA’s guidelines that argued against the use of antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease, which was frequently being used by insurers to deny payment for those treatments and as a basis for authorities to crack down on those treatments being administered in private practice.

•Many people can only afford medical care covered by their insurance. In most cases, insurance will only pay for treatments supported by guideline committees and forces providers to spend most of their time fulfilling requirements of the insurance companies rather than treating patients. As you would imagine, significant financial entanglements exist between hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies (for example they often share interlocking board members), which further incentivizes specific therapeutic approaches.

The insurance dynamic creates the unfortunate situation where many people who need help for a condition must depend on word of mouth to identify a physician outside the insurance system who they have to pay for out of pocket. Provided they find the right physician and can afford their care (each of which is often not the case), these individuals often are able to recover from their illness.

•Reciprocally, insurance companies will often pressure health care providers to perform certain services for each patient that “improve quality of care.” If you follow those suggestions (which frequently results in most of the visit being taken up to do so), you are paid more by the insurance companies. Since everyone in health care is tight on money, those incentives result in significant pressure being put on physicians from their administrators to follow those suggestions.

The problem is that many of these suggestions encourage doing things I do not believe help patients and often harm them. For example, one of the reasons doctors aggressively push vaccines to their patients is because insurance companies pay them significantly more for all visits if most of their patients (especially children) are vaccinated. Similarly, one of the reasons why hospitals have been so aggressive in forcing ventilation and remdesivir (to the point they will fight expensive lawsuits to continue doing so), is because Medicare, in accordance with the COVID treatment guidelines, pays them a lot more to manage (and then kill) their patients in this way.

•Federal, state and municipal law enforcement authorities will frequently target those who promote treatments that violate guidelines. In my own experience (and for many others), IV vitamin C has been extremely helpful in certain (but not all) COVID cases. There is also research showing a benefit in COVID from this therapy Nonetheless, the guidelines recommend against it and individuals who publicly promoted IV vitamin C (at a time when no treatment for COVID-19 was available) had their clinics raided and were criminally charged.

•The media will attack any controversial treatment by claiming there is no evidence for it, and simultaneously refuse to report any evidence that emerges in favor of it. Likewise, Big Tech aggressively censors anything that goes against the existing medical narrative. For example, early in the pandemic, a video was posted by a leading researcher who had conducted clinical trials on using IV vitamin C for COVID-19 presenting his data to the NIH. This video was removed by Youtube shortly afterwards for violating their COVID misinformation policy.

How the Hierarchy is Bought Out

As you might imagine, the hierarchy outlined before is immensely susceptible to bribery. As so much money is in health care, this is what always happens.

•When the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed in 2010, its goal was to make health care more affordable. In 2009, total USA healthcare costs were 2.6 trillion dollars. In 2020 it was 4.3 trillion dollars (compared to wages going from $40,711.61 to $55,628.60 per the SSA). As this data shows, Obamacare failed its stated objective. I believe the central problem with Obamacare was that the medical industry is the largest lobbyist in Congress. Because of this, they were able to craft Obamacare to benefit their industry and thereby remove each provision that would have achieved the stated goal of the Affordable Health Care Act, leaving us instead with a variety of highly problematic federal regulations.

•The pharmaceutical industry is the largest sponsor of the mainstream media. For this reason, they prevent stories critical of pharmaceutical products from being discussed and regularly air stories promoting pharmaceuticals. Likewise, they will relentlessly attack anything that opposes mainstream pharmaceutical positions (frequently “cancelling” it and labelling it unscientific and without evidence). During COVID-19 this trend has accelerated following the Biden administration dispensing 1 billion dollars to news outlets across the political spectrum in return for positive coverage of the vaccine. I do not know of any past precedent for this.

Many journalists have complained about their inability to criticize dangerous pharmaceutical products, and to my knowledge, Tucker Carlson is the only individual with a mainstream platform who has (occasionally) spoken out against the industry. In recent times Big Tech and Big Pharma (who during Obama’s presidency became the core sponsors of the Democrat Party) have financially merged with each other, and like the media Big Tech now has a similar commercial interest in protecting Big Pharma’s monopoly.

•Most medical journals are primarily funded by pharmaceutical companies. Because of this, there is a strong bias to publish questionable industry sponsored trials. Conversely, there is also a strong bias to not publish data supporting alternative therapies that challenge their sponsors (an early example of this this is explicitly detailed and can be found within the 2001 book Heart Frauds but I am sure many earlier ones exist). As many of you have noticed, this publication bias has gone into overdrive throughout COVID-19.

•”Large randomized double-blind studies” are typically considered to be the best form of evidence, and many individuals will reflexively dismiss a study unless it fulfills that criteria. The problem is that these types of studies are immensely expensive to conduct, and in most cases can only be done if a pharmaceutical company sponsors them.

As you might expect, numerous studies have shown that when pharmaceutical studies are compared to noncommercial studies, industry studies tend to greatly overestimate the benefits of a drug and understate its harms. This is due to them having a large number of (fraudulent) tricks to create the “scientific” outcome they want. One of the best known recent examples concerned an article in the BMJ discussing a whistleblower who provided proof widespread fraud occurred during Pfizer’s vaccine trials.

While a small benefit can be attributed to the placebo effect (hence suggesting the need for a “placebo controlled trial), in most cases, the bias that emerges from the inherent conflict of interest in a pharmaceutically sponsored trial greatly exceeds the placebo effect. This is extremely important to understand, but rarely understood.

Even in non-blinded studies where a large magnitude of benefit is found (which greatly exceeds any possible placebo effect) those results are typically ignored or dismissed in favor of corporate sponsored research. A sad reality with many scientific publications is that if you read the author conflict of interest disclosures (which intentionally omit key details) and see who sponsored the study of the study, you can typically predict most of what will be written within the publication.

•Most researchers and academic institutions are extremely short on money. Because of this, they are forced to accept pharmaceutical money for any type of research they want to do, and in most cases not ask questions that will upset their sponsors (and even when honest researchers exist, administrators directly concerned with institutional finances will keep them in line). To a lesser extent, they can also function through public grants, but as detailed in “The Real Anthony Fauci” the grant system has been compromised so only researchers who support the mainstream narratives (and have not opposed Anthony Fauci) can get grants. Many respected scientists I have learned a great deal from, believe the corruption of the grant system, which Fauci is largely responsible for, has prevented American science from developing innovative scientific discoveries that were frequently developed in the past.

•In many cases, guideline committees are composed of individuals who have a direct financial conflict of interest over the guidelines they are promoting. The Lyme disease lawsuit for instance was filed on this basis. Malcom Kendrick an English physician who has done an excellent job illustrating many of the scams conducted by the pharmaceutical industry provided one of the best examples for this concept in his book Doctoring Data.

Many physicians are of the opinion statins (which lower cholesterol) have minimal benefit in preventing heart disease and expose patients to frequent and significant adverse effects, but since statins were put on the market, guideline committees have continually lowered the acceptable blood levels of cholesterol, thereby significantly increasing the pool of people who could take statins (leading to the situation that on almost any medical board examination, the correct answer is almost always “give the patient a statin”).

Kendrick’s specific example was that on the guideline committee responsible for determining who needed to receive statins in the United States, every single person who was on the committee (except the chair who was legally barred from it) had a financial conflict of interest with statin manufacturers. As you might guess, one of the quality metrics that administrators have held meetings on and which I was forced to attend regarded not enough “eligible” patients at the clinic being prescribed statin therapy.

•One of Fauci’s major achievements was turning the NIH and NIAID into pharmaceutical production pipelines. This was largely accomplished by allowing federal officials who were involved with the discovery or development of a pharmaceutical that went to market receive royalties for the drug once it was approved that often vastly exceed their salary.

As a result, there is an inherent conflict of interest to push unsafe or ineffective pharmaceuticals through the regulatory process. This frequently happens, whereas non-commercial enterprises focused on public good can almost never receive approval for a medication. Many outside observers believed based on the existing data, remdesivir should not under any circumstances have received an FDA approval, yet it did, largely due to the FDA electing to waive all the required safeguards (such as needing to consult an outside advisory panel) put in place to prevent something like this from occurring.

One of the most interesting aspects of this scheme (detailed in the Real Anthony Fauci) was that Fauci developed a large network of principal investigators (PI’s are needed to run clinical trials) who hold significant sway in getting IRBs around the country to approve ethically questionable trials needed to get unsafe drugs to market. The Real Anthony Fauci also discusses the retaliation faced by honest regulators who raise objections to problems with those trials.

In short, pharmaceutical companies have always bribed regulators, but Fauci had the unique accomplishment of transforming this into being an integral part of the HSS where the regulators would often take it upon themselves to solicit those bribes.

•Lastly, physicians in everyday practice are remarkably susceptible to being bribed, and a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical industry is sending sales reps to convince physicians to prescribe their medications. A small number of physicians refuse to see reps under any circumstances as they feel it is immoral for their own financial self interest to influence their treatment of patients. Typically however, pharmaceutical reps are remarkably effective at accomplishing their goal of selling their chosen medication and many academic physicians who widely promote pharmaceutical products receive immense payouts for doing so.

Revisiting HIV

In my initial post on this substack, I stated I was able to predict much of what has happened with COVID three months before the pandemic started. This was because I have found whenever a formula is discovered which “works” it is typically reused over and over.

The story of HIV, for those interested was originally detailed in Peter Duesberg’s book Inventing the AIDS Virus, and then subsequently further discussed in The Real Anthony Fauci. Fauci’s conduct during this period appeared to have laid the blueprint for what was done with COVID.

At the start of the HIV, there was no cure and many members of the gay community suffered severe disease or died. As time moved forward, independent physicians working in the community discovered a variety of effective treatments for the AIDS patients, some of which were alternative therapies, but most of which utilized repurposed FDA approved drugs. Like the stories shared in those books, a few of my own friends worked in HIV hot spots during this time, and each found they were able to save the lives of their patients if they abandoned government recommendations and tried their own protocols.

Despite endless requests to study these approaches, Anthony Fauci blocked every single one from being studied or adopted into standard of care. In parallel, he pushed along research on a highly toxic drug, AZT. AZT had originally been intended to be used for chemotherapy, but was abandoned as it proved to be too toxic.

While AZT should have never been approved, Fauci was eventually able to manipulate one (terrible) study enough that alongside sufficient pressure being applied to the FDA, earn AZT an FDA approval. Once AZT entered the market, as was obvious from the existing clinical trial data, it significantly worsened the prognosis for AIDS patients, something both reported in each of those books and also reported to me by a few colleagues who observed it enter the market. Despite being responsible for killing many members of the gay community (who at the time protested against Fauci for being a mass murderer), Fauci was hailed a hero, became one of the most influential members of the US government, and made a lot of money in the process.

COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

At the start of COVID-19, the WHO made the curious announcement that Remdesivir would be the standard of care for COVID-19, despite almost no evidence existing to support this decision. After finding out the drug was a nonspecific viral RNA polymerase inhibitor, I became worried it would likely be somewhat toxic to cells, as broad spectrum antivirals tend to overlap with chemotherapy drugs (AZT being one example).

My initial suspicion was that Remdesivir would also affect cellular RNA polymerases (the classic example you learn in medical school are poisonous wild mushrooms triggering organ failure through this mechanism). As I began hearing of reports of organ failure near the start of the pandemic from physicians in China, I prayed we would not see a repeat of AZT. Since that time, significant evidence against Remdesivir has been uncovered suggesting it should have never been brought to market and to some extent, like AZT, it appears Remdesivir has caused significant harm.

As I observed the trajectory COVID-19 was headed in, I formed the hypothesis that a new lucrative drug needed to be put onto the market which could be theoretically argued to treat COVID-19 (“remdesivir must work since it is a non-specific viral RNA polymerase inhibitor”) but in reality would not be effective and instead would worsen and prolong the pandemic. I suspected this strategy would be adopted since the profit from selling the drug could be channeled into keeping effective therapies off the market long enough for vaccines to enter the market. This sadly appears to be what exactly happened once the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel of the NIH made remdesivir the standard of care for COVID-19.

Reference Link : A Midwestern Doctor / Substack

CDC Members Own More Than 50 Patents Connected to Vaccinations | LawFirms.com

CDC Members Own More Than 50 Patents Connected to Vaccinations
The CDC Immunization Safety Office is responsible for investigating the safety and effectiveness of all new vaccinations; once an investigation is considered complete, a recommendation is then made to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) who then determines whether the new vaccine will be added to the current vaccination schedule. Members of the ACIP committee include physicians such as Dr. Paul Offit, who also serves as the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit and other CDC members own numerous patents associated with vaccinations and regularly receive funding for their research work from the very same pharmaceutical companies who manufacturer vaccinations which are ultimately sold to the public. This situation creates an obvious conflict of interest, as members of the ACIP committee benefit financially every time a new vaccination is released to the market.
— Read on www.lawfirms.com/resources/environment/environment-health/cdc-members-own-more-50-patents-connected-vaccinations

SHANGHAI – Brutality Being Forced Into QUARANTINE CAMPS

#Shanghai #Quarantine #QuarantineCamps #Genocide

I’m normally not one to give my opinion here on my blog and yes, I know that that’s kind of what it’s for but with so much going on right now in the world and also my life I don’t really have much time to do that. I consider it pure luck that I’m able to just get the fact posted these days, lol. However, now is NOT one of those times!

This was extremely hard for me to watch. It has my heart breaking and my blood boiling. It took me back to when I was watching all those videos (which have now been removed from YouTube) of all the people in the hospital close to the raw food market is in Wuhan, China. It was the beginning of the bio-viral-weapon (as I call it). The very end November actually, before the CCP decided to get honest with the other nations. I’ll never forget watching the bodies (some still breathing) being thrown into black body bags and hauled down the halls, out the doors and chunked into those big white vans with no windows. The nurse’s were literally having nervous breakdowns all over the hospital. Bodies everywhere, lined up in the hall’s, some sick, some barely breathing. People crying, moaning, screaming and some silent. I also remember seeing the authorities going to people’s homes and locking them inside, literally using thick chains with deadbolts on the OUTSIDE of their doors. They could not even leave to buy food. Many died of starvation. I had never seen anything so horribly inhumane in my life. The only thing that I could compare it to is some of the things I witness while working with sex-trafficking victims. So when I see these kind of videos it kinda takes my breath away. Leaves my heart breaking and my blood boiling. It’s hard to explain.

Quarantine CAMPS. We all know what that looks like in China!

Torture, beaten, raped. It’s like being escorted to your coffin while your still alive. You know where they are taking you, You can’t run and you can’t hide. The ONLY thing you can do is pray you can withstand your stay. Hopefully you will be breathing when and if you leave. The evil is real.

WE, AS AMERICANS NEED TO BE ON THEIR KNEES GIVING THANKS TO GOD THAT THIS IS NOT US! So many think this could never happen here. Why? I learned a long time ago to never say “never” because as soon as I did, Boom! I’d be choking on my words!

For the life of me I can NOT understand how some people in this country are just so wrapped up and so self-consumed with their own little lives that they can’t come up out of it long enough to see the world around them. They probably wouldn’t even believe a robber if he walked up and said I’m going to pull the trigger if you don’t do what I say… while holding a piece to their head! Just BLIND AS HELL!!!

Thank God there are so many Patriots in the U.S. that are aware of what is happening here! I’m so very grateful that they are fighting for truth, justice and freedom! If you are one of them… Hear me when I say “THANK YOU” YOU ARE BRAVE TO THE BONE!

CDC to extend federal transportation mask mandate for additional 15 days

CDC to extend federal transportation mask mandate for additional 15 days

By Brenda Goodman and Betsy Klein, CNN

Updated 11:42 AM ET, Wed April 13, 2022

A traveler walks through the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on December 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
A traveler walks through the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on December 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

HERE WE GO AGAIN…

The corrupt Genocide CDC, Plandemic-Pusher’s, are at it again… as always… using any excuse they can, whether it makes sense or whether science agrees or not have come to another nefarious conclusion about masks mandates.

Here’s the kicker… their heinous excuse this time is to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.

Can someone please explain this to me?

Here’s the article:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to extend the federal transportation mask mandate for another 15 days to early May, according to a Biden administration official familiar with the decision.

The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon from the CDC. The mandate is now set to expire on May 3. The Associated Press was first to report the extension.

The administration official familiar with the decision told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.

“Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the US. In order to assess the potential impact, the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, CDC is recommending that TSA extend the security directive to enforce mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” the official told CNN.

The official added, “This will give additional time for the CDC to learn more about BA.2 and make a best-informed decision.”

The US is now averaging 38,345 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Cases are trending up in more than half of states — including all but one state in the Northeast, Delaware. But the daily rate is still one of the lowest since mid-July.

According to the latest estimates from the CDC, BA.2 caused 86% of new Covid-19 cases nationwide last week.

The mandate , which requires masks on public transportation such as planes, trains, buses — as well as in hubs like airports and bus terminalshad been set to expire on April 18. White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN on Monday that the CDC planned to share a scientific framework this week for the federal transportation mask mandate.

This is a breaking story and will be updated. Source: (CNN)

Now that we have the masks thing cleared up go the next two weeks at least let me take this to another level.

if you’re one of those who’s thinking hasn’t quite caught up with some of your relatives, friends or coworkers or the rest of us, I would really like you to consider adjusting your thinking “outside the box” a little bit for a moment because you deserve to know and understand the truth like the rest of us. If society as a whole doesn’t start to grasp the entire truth of what has been happening and has happened, things are not going to turn out very well for any of us. This much I am convinced.

In case you missed it!

Just in case you missed the “venomous” conclusion regarding the origin of the coronavirus you might want to hear the latest findings. I was blown away! Videos discussion’s centered around the research findings of Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com), the real origin of the virus, the goal of this Plandemic, and who is behind it!

The plandemic continues, but its origins are still a nefarious mystery. How did the world get sick, how did Covid really spread, and did the Satanic elite tell the world about this bioweapon ahead of time? Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com) has unveiled a shocking connection between this pandemic and the eternal battle of good and evil which began in the Garden of Eden.

Here’s a couple of recommended watches for you. Be sure you’re sitting down! I literally watched one of them 3 times last night because I couldn’t believe my ears!

#1 Watch

Watch the Water with Stew Peters: https://rumble.com/v10mnew-live-world-premiere-watch-the-water.html

In this Stew Peters Network exclusive, Director Stew Peters, award winning filmmaker Nicholas Stumphauzer and Executive Producer Lauren Witzke bring to light a truth satan himself has fought to suppress.

For more information on Dr. Bryan Ardis: Visit http://ardisantidote.com/ to learn how to protect you and your loved ones during this biological war.

# 2 Watch

4.13.22: VENOM, COBRAS, Digital Warriors, NYC…more EXPOSURE of the [DS} evil! PRAY!– with And We Know

https://rumble.com/v10u04f-4.13.22-venom-cobras-digital-warriors-nyc…more-exposure-of-the-ds-evil-pr.html

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths keep rising

NATIONAL

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths keep rising

by: GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

Posted: Apr 5, 2022 / 12:34 AM CDT

Updated: Apr 5, 2022 / 12:50 AM CDT

Source

https://www.borderreport.com/news/national/states-look-for-solutions-as-u-s-fentanyl-deaths-keep-rising/

As the addiction and overdose crisis that has gripped the U.S. for two decades turns even deadlier, state governments are scrambling for ways to stem the destruction wrought by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

In statehouses across the country, lawmakers have been considering and adopting laws on two fronts: reducing the risk to users and increasing the penalties for dealing fentanyl or mixing it with other drugs. Meanwhile, Republican state attorneys general are calling for more federal action, while some GOP governors are deploying National Guard units with a mission that includes stopping the flow of fentanyl from Mexico.

“It’s a fine line to help people and try to get people clean, and at the same time incarcerate and get the drug dealers off the streets,” said Nathan Manning, a Republican state senator in Ohio who is sponsoring legislation to make it clear that materials used to test drugs for fentanyl are legal.

The urgency is heightened because of the deepening impact of the drugs. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the nation had hit a grim milestone. For the first time, more than 100,000 Americans had diedof drug overdoses over a 12-month period. About two-thirds of the deaths were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, which can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, heroin or prescription opioids. Texas lawmakers failed to legalize fentanyl testing strips last year, but there’s still a push for access

The recent case of five West Point cadets who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine during spring break in Florida put the dangers and pervasiveness of the fentanyl crisis back in the spotlight.

The chemical precursors to the drugs are being shipped largely from China to Mexico, where much of the illicit fentanyl supply is produced in labs before being smuggled into the U.S.

While users sometimes seek out fentanyl specifically, it and other synthetics with similar properties are often mixed with other drugs or formed into counterfeit pills so users often don’t know they’re taking it.

Advocates say test strips can help prevent accidental overdoses of drugs laced with fentanyl. The strips are given out at needle exchanges and sometimes at concerts or other events where drugs are expected to be sold or used.

Thomas Stuber, chief legislative officer at The LCADA Way, a drug treatment organization in Ohio that serves Lorain County and nearby areas, has been pushing for the test strip legislation. It also would ease access to naloxone, a drug that can be used to revive people when they’re having opioid overdoses.

“This is a harm-reduction approach that has received a lot of acceptance,” he said. “We cannot treat somebody if they’re dead.”

Since last year, at least a half-dozen states have enacted similar laws and at least a dozen others have considered them, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In West Virginia, the state hardest hit by opioids per capita, lawmakers passed a bill this month to legalize the testing strips. It now heads to the governor.

The measure was sponsored by Republican lawmakers. But state Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat whose district includes central Charleston, has also been pushing for more access to fentanyl strips. He said the situation got worse last year when a state law tightened regulations on needle exchanges, causing some of them to close.

Pushkin, who also is in long-term addiction recovery, is pleased with the passage of the testing strip bill but upset with another measure passed this month that would increase the penalties for trafficking fentanyl. That bill also would create a new crime of adding fentanyl to another drug.

“Their initial reaction is, ‘We have to do something,’” he said. “It’s not just about doing something, it’s about doing the right thing that actually has results.”

But for many lawmakers, making sure that tough criminal penalties apply to fentanyl is a priority.

California Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, a Republican, introduced a measure that would make penalties for dealing fentanyl just as harsh as those for selling cocaine or heroin. The Republican represents Orange County, where there were more than 600 reported fentanyl-related deaths last year.

“This is sending messages to those who aren’t afraid of selling these drugs that there’s a longer, bigger penalty than you might think,” said Nguyen, whose bill failed to advance from her chamber’s public safety committee in a 5-2 vote last week. She said after the bill failed that she was considering trying again. 

She said committee members stressed compassion for drug users, something she said she agrees with.

“The less available these pills are out there, the better it is,” Nguyen said. “And that is going after the drug dealer.”DEA: We save lives in Middle America by stopping fentanyl at the border

The same day her measure failed to advance, a Democratic lawmaker in California announced a different bill to increase fentanyl-dealing penalties.

The National Conference of State Legislatures found 12 states with fentanyl-specific drug trafficking or possession laws as of last year. Similar measures have been introduced or considered since the start of 2021 in at least 19 states, the Associated Press found in an analysis of bills compiled by LegiScan. That does not include measures to add more synthetic opioids to controlled substance lists to mirror federal law; those have been adopted in many states, with bipartisan support.

Fentanyl has been in the spotlight in Colorado since February, when five people were found dead in a suburban Denver apartment from overdoses of fentanyl mixed with cocaine.

Under state law, possession with intent to distribute less than 14 grams of fentanyl is an offense normally punishable by two to four years in prison. But fentanyl is so potent that 14 grams can represent up to 700 lethal doses, under a calculation used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

“It’s making it impossible to hold the dealer accountable for the deadliness of the drugs they’re peddling,” Colorado House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Democrat, said in an interview.In El Paso, fentanyl, an OD, and unknown reasons for Downtown jail deaths

He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week unveiled a bill also backed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that would increase penalties for dealers with smaller amounts of fentanyl and in cases where the drug leads to a death. The legislation also would increase the accessibility of naloxone and test strips while steering people who possess fentanyl into education and treatment programs.

Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for harm-reduction measures, is skeptical of the legislation that would increase criminal penalties.

“We have the largest incarceration rate in the entire world and we’re also setting records in terms of overdose deaths,” she said.

Democratic governors are focusing primarily on harm reduction methods. Among them is Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker, who released a broad overdose action plan last month.

Several Republican governors and attorneys general have responded to the rising death toll with administrative enforcement efforts and by pushing for more federal intervention.

Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for states to help secure the border with Mexico. Along with trying to keep people from entering the U.S., stopping the flow of fentanyl was cited as a reason. Several other Republican governors have sent contingents of state troopers or National Guard units. 

The Texas Military Department said that from March 2021 through earlier this month, its troops near the border confiscated more than 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) of fentanyl. By comparison, federal authorities reported confiscating about 11,000 pounds (4,990 kilograms) in 2021 — still a fraction of what entered the country.Gov. Greg Abbott brags about his border initiative. The evidence doesn’t back him up.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed about 2,700 cases involving crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs, up nearly tenfold from 2017. Even so, Republican state officials are critical of federal efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the country.

In January, 16 GOP state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to exert more pressure on China and Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl. Those are steps that Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of National Drug Control Policy, said are already being taken.

In March, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for more enforcement on fentanyl trafficking and harsher penalties. 

“Fentanyl is killing Americans of all walks of life in unprecedented numbers,” Morrisey said in a statement emailed to the AP, “and the federal government must respond with full force, across the board, using every tool available to stem the tide of death.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TOP STORIES

Medicare enrollees to get free COVID-19 tests at …

Haitians look forward to filing asylum claims when …

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

Shelter for Ukrainian migrants opens in Tijuana

Top Stories 

MORE STORIES

States look for solutions as U.S. fentanyl deaths …

Medicare enrollees to get free COVID-19 tests at …

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick releases top 2023 legislative …

California church on a mission to help Ukrainian …

Divided reactions to the end of Title 42 by migrant …

What’s next for Texas, as neighboring New Mexico …

Hundreds line up to buy legal cannabis across Texas …

More Stories 

BorderReport Video

nullPrevious

KXAN News Today

6 hours ago

TDEM expanding statewide outreach

6 hours ago

CapMetro riders can request a drop off between stops …

6 hours ago

Austin Police joins 30 by 30 Initiative to increase …

6 hours ago

City officials concerned Austin airport is understaffed, …

6 hours ago

APD launches new unit to review officer use of force …

6 hours ago

3 more protesters hurt by less-lethal rounds in May …

6 hours ago

1 adult dies, 3 children taken to hospital after …

6 hours ago

Monday overnight First Warning Forecast

7 hours ago

Texas police investigating multiple middle schoolers …

8 hours ago

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick releases top legislative priorities …

10 hours ago

Texas lawmakers weigh border security spending as …

10 hours ago

Next

More Videos 

EL PASO CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

End of Title 42 will ‘open floodgates to illegal …

4 hours ago

Haitians look forward to filing asylum claims when …

10 hours ago

Parrots in a box: CBP stops 2nd bird-smuggling attempt …

16 hours ago

Texans flock to cannabis dispensaries across New …

3 days ago

DHS says Title 42 ending on May 23 but removals of …

4 days ago

At least 10,000 in Juarez waiting for Title 42 rollback, …

4 days ago

View All Julian Resendiz 

SOUTH TEXAS CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

Governor calls emergency special election for South …

11 hours ago

Divided reactions to the end of Title 42 by migrant …

3 days ago

New congressional caucus formed to study border security …

4 hours ago

South Texas congressman Filemon Vela has stepped …

4 days ago

Lights Out campaign urges Texans to dim night lights …

4 days ago

Environmental groups, feds reach deal blocking military …

6 days ago

View All Sandra Sanchez 

CALIFORNIA CORRESPONDENT LATEST STORIES

Shelter for Ukrainian migrants opens in Tijuana

12 hours ago

Court orders Pakistani asylum-seeker to continue …

2 weeks ago

Amazon launches program to help refugees

2 weeks ago

State Department issues travel warning for Tijuana …

2 weeks ago

Fence to prevent migrants from squatting at border …

2 weeks ago

Pakistani asylum-seeker continues journey in U.S. …

2 weeks ago

View All Salvador Rivera 

Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

The could possibly be the rabbit hole from Hell… Some of it seems like it could make sense but that’s how the work. I wonder what one would find if they dug deep – real deep and followed the money Trail on this subject???

Anthropogenic land use changes drive a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and modify the transmission of endemic infections. These drivers include agricultural encroachment, deforestation, road construction, dam building, irrigation, wetland modification, mining, the concentration or expansion of urban environments, coastal zone degradation, and other activities. These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, disease introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. The Working Group on Land Use Change and Disease Emergence grew out of a special colloquium that convened international experts in infectious diseases, ecology, and environmental health to assess the current state of knowledge and to develop recommendations for addressing these environmental health challenges.

The group established a systems model approach and priority lists of infectious diseases affected by ecologic degradation. Policy-relevant levels of the model include:

specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels.

The group recommended creating Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training, based at regional universities and/or research institutes with close links to the surrounding communities.

The centers’ objectives would be 3-fold:

a) to provide information to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health;

b) to facilitate fully interdisciplinary research from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences and train professionals who can conduct interdisciplinary research; and

c) to engage in science-based communication and assessment for policy making toward sustainable health and ecosystems.

Human-induced land use changes are the primary drivers of a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and also modifiers of the transmission of endemic infections (Patz et al. 2000).

These land use changes include:

  • deforestation
  • road construction
  • agricultural encroachment
  • dam building
  • irrigation
  • coastal zone degradation
  • wetland modification
  • mining
  • the concentration or expansion of urban environments
  • and other activities.

These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, pathogen introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. These are important and complex issues that are understood only for a few diseases. For example, recent research has shown that forest fragmentation, urban sprawl, and biodiversity loss are linked to increased risk for Lyme disease in the northeastern United States (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001). Expansion and changes in agricultural practices are intimately associated with the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia (Chua et al. 1999; Lam and Chua 2002), cryptosporidiosis in Europe and North America, and a range of food-borne illnesses globally (Rose et al. 2001). Road building is linked to the expansion of bushmeat consumption that may have played a key role in the early emergence of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (Wolfe et al. 2000), and simian foamy virus has been found in bushmeat hunters (Wolfe et al. 2004).

In recognition of the complexity of land use change and the risks and benefits to human health that it entails, a special colloquium titled “Unhealthy Landscapes: How Land Use Change Affects Health” was convened at the 2002 biennial meeting of the International Society for Ecosystem Health (6–11 June 2002, Washington, DC) to address this issue. The invited experts worked to establish consensus on the current state of science and identify key knowledge gaps underlying this issue. This article condenses the working group’s report and presents a new research and policy agenda for understanding land use change and its effects on human health. Specifically, we discuss land-use drivers or human activities that exacerbate infectious diseases; the land–water interface, common to many infectious disease life cycles; and conclusions and recommendations for research and training from the working group.

Land-Use Drivers of Infectious Disease Emergence

The emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) resulting from land use change can be entirely new to a specific location or host species. This may occur either from “spillover” or cross-species transmission or simply by extension of geographic range into new or changed habitats. More than 75% of human diseases are zoonotic and have a link to wildlife and domestic animals (Taylor et al. 2001).

The working group developed an extensive list of processes by which land use affects human health (specifically, infectious disease occurrence) and of other factors that contribute to this relationship: agricultural development, urbanization, deforestation, population movement, increasing population, introduction of novel species/pathogens, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss, habit fragmentation, road building, macro and micro climate changes, hydrological alteration, decline in public health infrastructure, animal-intensive systems, eutrophication, military conflict, monocropping, and erosion (ranked from highest to lowest public health impact by meeting participants). The four mechanisms that were felt to have the greatest impact on public health were changes to the physical environment; movement of populations, pathogens, and trade; agriculture; and urbanization. War and civil unrest were also mentioned as a potentially acute and cross-cutting driver. Infectious disease agents with the strongest documented or suspected links to land use change are listed in Table 1.

Changes to the biophysical environment.

Deforestation.

Rates of deforestation have grown exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by rapidly increasing human population numbers, large swaths of species-rich tropical and temperate forests, as well as prairies, grasslands, and wetlands, have been converted to species-poor agricultural and ranching areas. The global rate of tropical deforestation continues at staggering levels, with nearly 2–3% of forests lost globally each year. Parallel with this habitat destruction is an exponential growth in human–wildlife interaction and conflict. This has resulted in exposure to new pathogens for humans, livestock, and wildlife (Wolfe et al. 2000). Deforestation and the processes that lead to it have many consequences for ecosystems. Deforestation decreases the overall habitat available for wildlife species. It also modifies the structure of environments, for example, by fragmenting habitats into smaller patches separated by agricultural activities or human populations. Increased “edge effect” (from a patchwork of varied land uses) can further promote interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts. This edge effect has been well documented for Lyme disease (Glass et al. 1995). Similarly, increased activity in forest habitats (through behavior or occupation) appears to be a major risk factor for leishmaniasis (Weigle et al. 1993). Evidence is mounting that deforestation and ecosystem changes have implications for the distribution of many other microorganisms and the health of human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations.

One example of the effects of land use on human health is particularly noteworthy. Deforestation, with subsequent changes in land use and human settlement patterns, has coincided with an upsurge of malaria and/or its vectors in Africa (Coluzzi 1984, 1994; Coluzzi et al. 1979), in Asia (Bunnag et al. 1979), and in Latin America (Tadei et al. 1998). When tropical forests are cleared for human activities, they are typically converted into agricultural or grazing lands. This process is usually exacerbated by construction of roads, causing erosion and allowing previously inaccessible areas to become colonized by people (Kalliola and Flores Paitán 1998). Cleared lands and culverts that collect rainwater are in some areas far more suitable for larvae of malaria-transmitting anopheline mosquitoes than are intact forests (Charlwood and Alecrim 1989; Jones 1951; Marques 1987).

Another example of the effects of land use on human health involves deforestation and noninfectious disease: the contamination of rivers with mercury. Soil erosion after deforestation adds significant mercury loads, which are found naturally in rainforest soils, to rivers. This has led to fish in the Amazon becoming hazardous to eat (Fostier et al. 2000; Veiga et al. 1994).

Habitat fragmentation.

This alters the composition of host species in an environment and can change the fundamental ecology of microorganisms. Because of the nature of food webs within ecosystems, organisms at higher trophic levels exist at a lower population density and are often quite sensitive to changes in food availability. The smaller patches left after fragmentation often do not have sufficient prey for top predators, resulting in local extinction of predator species and a subsequent increase in the density of their prey species. Logging and road building in Latin America have increased the incidence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2001), which in some areas has resulted from an increase in the number of fox reservoirs and sandfly vectors that have adapted to the peridomestic environment (Patz et al. 2000). Foxes, however, are not very important reservoirs for leishmaniasis in Latin America (Courtenay et al. 2002), and a more important factor in the transmission cycle includes domestic dogs.

Ostfeld and Keesing (2000) have demonstrated that smaller fragments in North American forests have fewer small mammal predators. Results suggest that the probability that a tick will become infected depends on not only the density of white-footed mice but also the density of mice relative to that of other hosts in the community. Under this scenario, the density effect of white-footed mice, which are efficient reservoirs for Lyme disease, can be “diluted” by an increasing density of alternative hosts, which are less efficient at transmitting Lyme disease. These results suggest that increasing host diversity (species richness) may decrease the risk of disease through a “dilution effect” (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001).

Extractive industries.

Gold mining is an extractive industry that damages local and regional environments and has adverse human health effects, because mercury is used to extract gold from riverbeds in the tropical forests. Not only does mercury accumulate in local fish populations, making them toxic to eat (Lebel et al. 1996, 1998), but mercury also suppresses the human immune system. Also, in gold-mining areas, more mosquito-breeding sites and increased malaria risk result from digging gem pits in the forest and from craters resulting from logging; broader disease spread occurs as populations disperse throughout the region (Silbergeld et al. 2002).

Movement of populations, pathogens, and trade.

The movement of humans, domestic animals, wildlife populations, and agricultural products through travel, trade, and translocations is a driver of infectious disease emergence globally. These sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate movements of infectious disease and vectors (e.g., the introduction of smallpox and measles to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors) will continue to rise via continually expanding global travel and by development of Third World populations. Human introduction of pathogens, hosts, or materials into new areas has been termed “pathogen pollution” (Daszak et al. 2000).

Land use changes drive some of these introductions and migrations and also increase the vulnerability of habitats and populations to these introductions. Human migrations also drive land use changes that in turn drive infectious disease emergence. For example, in China’s Yunnan Province, an increase in livestock populations and migration has led to an increase in the incidence of schistosomiasis (Jiang et al. 1997). In Malaysia, a combination of deforestation, drought, and wildfires has led to alterations in the population movements and densities of flying foxes, large fruit bats known to be the reservoir for the newly emergent zoonosis Nipah virus (Chua et al. 1999). It is believed that the increased opportunity for contact between infected bats and pigs produced the outbreak of the disease in pigs, which then was transmitted to people in contact with infected pigs (Aziz et al. 2002).

Another example of human-induced animal movement on a much larger scale is the international pet trade. This movement of animals involves many countries and allows for the introduction of novel pathogens, such as monkeypox, with the potential to damage ecosystems and threaten human and animal health. Monkeypox was originally associated with bushmeat hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius); after a localized epidemic emerged in humans, monkeypox persisted for four generations via human-to-human contact (Jezek et al. 1986).

Human movement also has significant implications for public health. Not only are travelers (tourists, businesspeople, and other workers) at risk of contracting communicable diseases when visiting tropical countries, but they also can act as vectors for delivering infectious diseases to another region or, in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), potentially around the world. Refugees account for a significant number of human migrants, carrying diseases such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis and various parasites (Loutan et al. 1997). Because of their status, refugees become impoverished and are more exposed to a wide range of health risks. This is caused by the disruption of basic health services, inadequate food and medical care, and lack of clean water and sanitation (Toole and Waldman 1997). People who cross international boundaries, such as travelers, immigrants, and refugees, may be at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, especially those who have no immunity because the disease agents are uncommon in their native countries. Immigrants may come from nations where diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, and refugees may come from situations where crowding and malnutrition create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases such as cholera, shigellosis, malaria, and measles [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1998].

Zoonoses.

The importance of zoonotic diseases should be emphasized. Zoonotic pathogens are the most significant cause of EIDs affecting humans, both in the proportion of EIDs that they cause and in the impact that they have. Some 1,415 species of infectious organisms are known to be pathogenic to people, with 61% of them being zoonotic. Of the emerging pathogens, 75% are zoonotic, and zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than are nonzoonotic pathogens (Taylor et al. 2001). More important, zoonotic pathogens cause a series of EIDs with high case fatality rates and no reliable cure, vaccine, or therapy (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Nipah virus disease, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome). Zoonotic pathogens also cause diseases that have some of the highest incidence rates globally [e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)]. AIDS is a special case, because it is caused by a pathogen that jumped host from nonhuman primates and then evolved into a new virus. Thus, it is in origin a zoonotic organism (Hahn et al. 2000).

Because of the important role of zoonoses in current public health threats, wildlife and domestic animals play a key role in the process by providing a “zoonotic pool” from which previously unknown pathogens may emerge (Daszak et al. 2001). The influenza virus is an example, causing pandemics in humans after periodic exchange of genes among the viruses of wild and domestic birds, pigs, and humans. Fruit bats are involved in a high-profile group of EIDs that includes rabies and other lyssaviruses, Hendra virus and Menangle virus (Australia), and Nipah virus (Malaysia and Singapore), which has implications for further zoonotic disease emergence. A number of species are endemic to both remote oceanic islands and more populous suburban and rural human settlements; these may harbor enzootic and potentially zoonotic pathogens with an unknown potential for spillover (Daszak et al. 2000).

Thus, some of the current major infectious threats to human health are EIDs and reemerging infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on zoonotic pathogens transferring hosts from wildlife and domestic animals. A common, defining theme for most EIDs (of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and plants) is that they are driven to emerge by anthropogenic changes to the environment. Because threats to wildlife habitat are so extensive and pervading, many of the currently important human EIDs (e.g., AIDS, Nipah virus disease) are driven partly by human-induced changes to wildlife habitat such as encroachment and deforestation. This is essentially a process of natural selection in which anthropogenic environmental changes perturb the host–parasite dynamic equilibrium, leading to the expansion of those strains suited to the new environmental conditions and facilitating expansion of others into new host species (Daszak et al. 2001).

Agriculture.

Crop irrigation and breeding sites.

Agriculture occupies about half of the world’s land and uses more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water (Horrigan et al. 2002). Agricultural development in many parts of the world has increased the need for crop irrigation, which reduces water availability for other uses and increases breeding sites for disease vectors. An increase in soil moisture associated with irrigation development in the southern Nile Delta after the construction of the Aswan High Dam has caused a rapid rise in the mosquito Culex pipiens and consequential increase in the arthropod-borne disease Bancroftian filariasis (Harb et al. 1993; Thompson et al. 1996). Onchocerciasis and trypanosomiasis are further examples of vector-borne parasitic diseases that may be triggered by changing land-use and water management patterns. In addition, large-scale use of pesticides has had deleterious effects on farm workers, including hormone disruption and immune suppression (Straube et al. 1999).

Food-borne diseases.

Once agricultural development has expanded and produced food sufficient to meet local need, the food products are exported to other nations, where they can pose a risk to human health. The increase in imported foods has resulted in a rise in food-borne illness in the United States. Strawberries from Mexico, raspberries from Guatemala, carrots from Peru, and coconut milk from Thailand have caused recent outbreaks. Food safety is an important factor in human health, because food-borne disease accounts for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year (CDC 2003). Other dangers include antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as Cyclospora, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and other pathogenic E. coli strains associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome in children (Dols et al. 2001).

Secondary effects.

Agricultural secondary effects need to be minimized, such as the emerging microbial resistance from antibiotics in animal waste that is included in farm runoff and the introduction of microdams for irrigation in Ethiopia that resulted in a 7-fold increase in malaria (Ghebreyesus et al. 1999).

Urbanization.

On a global basis, the proportion of people living in urban centers will increase to an unprecedented 65% by the year 2030 (Population Reference Bureau 1998). The 2000 census shows that 80% of the U.S. population now lives in metropolitan areas, with 30% living in cities of 5 million or more. The environmental issues posed by such large population centers have profound impacts on public health beyond the city limits (Knowlton 2001).

Alterations of ecosystems and natural resources contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious disease agents. Human encroachment of wildlife habitat has broadened the interface between wildlife and humans, increasing opportunities for both the emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife and their transmission to people. Rabies is an example of a zoonotic disease carried by animals that has become habituated to urban environments. Bats colonize buildings, skunks and raccoons scavenge human refuse, and in many countries feral dogs in the streets are common and the major source of human infection (Singh et al. 2001).

Infectious diseases can also pass from people to wildlife. Nonhuman primates have acquired measles from ecotourists (Wallis and Lee 1999). Also, drug resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria of wild baboons living with limited human contact is significantly less common than in baboons living with human contact near urban or semiurban human settlements (Rolland et al. 1985).

The Land–Water Interface

Another major driver of infectious disease emergence results from the land–water interface. Land use changes often involve water projects or coastal marine systems in which nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algal blooms.

Currently the seventh Cholera pandemic is spreading across Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1992, a new serogroup (Vibrio cholerae O139) appeared and has been responsible for epidemics in Asia (Colwell 1996). The seasonality of cholera epidemics may be linked to the seasonality of plankton (algal blooms) and the marine food chain. Studies using remote-sensing data of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton have shown a correlation between cholera cases and sea surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal. Interannual variability in cholera incidence in Bangladesh is also linked to the El Niño southern oscillation and regional temperature anomalies (Lobitz et al. 2000), and cholera prevalence has been associated with progressively stronger El Niño events spanning a 70-year period (Rodo et al. 2002). This observation on cholera incidence may represent an early health indicator of global climate change (Patz 2002).

Infectious diseases in marine mammals and sea turtles could serve as sentinels for human disease risk. Sea turtles worldwide are affected by fibropapillomatosis, a disease probably caused by one or several viruses and characterized by multiple epithelial tumors. Field studies support the observation that prevalence of this disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae (Aguirre and Lutz, in press). This represents the breakdown of the land–water interface, to the point that several pathogens typical of terrestrial ecosystems have become established in the oceans. Toxoplasmosis in the endangered sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents an example of pathogen pollution. Massive mortalities in pinnipeds and cetaceans reaching epidemics of tens of thousands are caused by four morbilliviruses evolving from the canine distemper virus (Aguirre et al. 2002). Additionally, overfishing has myriad ramifications for marine ecosystems and sustainable protein food sources for human populations.

Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that completes its life cycle within the intestine of mammals, sheds high numbers of infectious oocysts that are dispersed in feces. A recent study found that 13% of finished treated water still contained Cryptosporidium oocysts, indicating some passage of microorganisms from source to treated drinking water (LeChevallier and Norton 1995). The protozoan is highly prevalent in ruminants and is readily transmitted to humans. Thus, management of livestock contamination of watersheds is an important public health issue.

One example of how overexploitation of a natural water resource led to infectious disease is that of Lake Malawi in Africa. Overfishing in the lake reduced the population of snail-eating fish to such a level that snail populations erupted. Subsequently, schistosomiasis incidence and prevalence markedly rose after this ecologic imbalance (Madsen et al. 2001).

Recommendations from the Working Group

Conceptual model: bringing land use into public health policy.

The recommendations stemming from the international colloquium are highly relevant to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a broad multiagency/foundation-sponsored scientific assessment of degraded ecosystem effects on human well-being. A conceptual framework of the MEA already provides an approach to optimize the contribution of ecosystems to human health (MEA 2003). This framework offers a mechanism to a) identify options that can better achieve human development and sustainable goals, b) better understand the trade-offs involved in environment-related decisions, and c) align response options at all scales, from the local to the global, where they can be most effective. This conceptual framework focuses on human well-being while also recognizing associated intrinsic values. Similar to the MEA, focus is particularly on the linkages between ecosystem services and human health. Workshop participants developed a conceptual model (Figure 1). Like the MEA, it assumes a dynamic interaction between humans and ecosystems that warrants a multiscale assessment (spatial and temporal).

By using this framework, policy makers may approach development and health at various levels. These levels include specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels. For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlinkage between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).

As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost. In rich and temperate-climate communities, the infectious disease shifts tend to be more disease specific, for example, in the case of Lyme disease and habitat fragmentation.

Research on deforestation and infectious disease.

Considering the deforestation that usually accompanies agricultural development, new conservation-oriented agriculture should be pursued. As discussed above, water project development and modern livestock management present major health disease risks. However, often the secondary unintended consequences can also wreak havoc; for example, a leaking dam may present greater risks than the reservoir itself. A distressingly large number of development projects not only have adverse effects on human health but also fail to attain their primary economic purposes in a sustainable manner.

Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by forest destruction, desertification, or land-use conversion, affects human and wildlife health and ecosystem processes. There is already much research undertaken by landscape ecologists on the consequences of habitat fragmentation for wildlife, especially larger animals. It would be important to study the effects of landscape fragmentation on public health hazards. Such research could entail three components. The first component consists of gathering baseline data, including using historical data where possible and beginning monitoring programs where necessary. Key data include identifying and quantifying the relevant pathogen load of wildlife, livestock, and human communities in fragmented landscapes. The goals of this data collection are, first, to identify key infectious diseases, both chronic and emergent or reemergent and, second, to document the consequences of fragmentation on relative abundance of wildlife and subsequent pathogen load. For example, the loss of large predators in fragmented habitats in the northeastern United States has led to a superabundance of rodent vectors for Lyme disease.

The second component of the research program would involve health impact modeling, primarily in three areas: a) estimating changes in the relative abundance of organisms, including infectious disease vectors, pathogens, and hosts; b) projecting potential vector or transmission shifts (e.g., should the Nipah virus shift to pulmonary as well as neurologic expression in humans as in swine); and c) projecting the impact of infectious diseases in a region on different geographic scales.

The results of these analyses, if successful, could support the third component of research: development of decision-support tools. Improved decisions on land-use policy could be made from a better understanding of costs and benefits to health and environmental decision makers. In all probability, however, they will be very location specific. For example, to construct an irrigation scheme in India would likely invite a malaria epidemic, whereas the same activity in sub-Saharan Africa may have little effect on malaria transmission. It is worth mentioning that costs and benefits could depend on the time course over which they are assessed. For example, some land-use changes can lead to short-term increases in transmission followed by longer-term decreases (e.g., irrigation and malaria in Sri Lanka) or vice versa (e.g., deforestation and cutaneous leishmaniasis in Latin America).

Policies to reduce microbial traffic/pathogen pollution.

In today’s interconnected world, it becomes very important to invest in the worldwide control of infectious diseases in developing countries, for example. It is also necessary to control transport to stem the flow from one place to the next.

Improved monitoring of trade is warranted in order to target infectious disease introductions. In the attempt to prevent the invasion of a pathogen (and drug-resistant organisms) into the vulnerable areas subject to land use changes, we need to pay greater attention to controls at the sources. We need to document and map these trades and investigate the vectors, the infectious diseases they harbor, and the populations they threaten. Risk assessment should guide surveillance and the development of test kits, targeting point-of-origin intervention to preempt these processes. Assessments must further include nonmarket costs (usually to the detriment of the environment and long-term sustainable health). We should communicate to both the exporters and consumers the need to make their trades clean, economically viable, and certified “clean and green” by an independent scientific agency at the source and/or destination. Additionally, strategies for screening travelers for pathogens that may be introduced to a region should be improved.

Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training.

One approach to developing the issues to which this article draws attention is the creation of a system of regional- or subregional-based interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training. Based at regional universities and/or research institutes but with very close links to the surrounding communities, these centers would have the following objectives:

  • Providing information based on good science to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health, including the factors that contribute to specific infectious disease outbreaks. The new research agenda must gather information on household and community perspectives about proposals for the use of their land. These perspectives are key to assessing the cost/benefit of a proposed project. Training local professionals in environmental, agricultural, and health science issues, with a particular focus on granting degrees in a new “trans”-discipline linking health and the environment, would be emphasized.
  • Acting as centers of integrated analysis of infectious disease emergence, incorporating perspectives and expertise from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences. Research activities would range from taxonomy of pathogens and vectors to identifying best practices for influencing changes in human behavior to reduce ecosystem and health risks.
  • Incorporating a “health impact assessment” as an important cross-sectorial decision-making tool in overall development planning (parallel to an environmental impact assessment), along with the need for doing more research.
  • Equipping professionals with the ability to recommend policy toward maintaining ecosystem function and promoting sustainable public health for future generations. For example, the link between forest fragmentation and Lyme disease risk could lead to preserving more intact tracts of forest habitat by planning “cluster” housing schemes.
Implementing research and policy programs.

In selecting areas for research and the placement of centers of excellence, it is important to choose geographically representative, highly diverse areas around the world. In addition, research projects should take place in regions or landscapes that have both well characterized and less characterized patterns of infectious disease emergence or transmission for comparison purposes. Local health and environment professionals, who are in the best position to understand local priorities, should make the choices within each region for initial research areas and sites.

Addressing trade-offs among environment, health, and development.

There are some inherent trade-offs when considering land-use change and health. They are ethical values, environmental versus health choices, and disparities in knowledge and economic class. Trade-offs are between short-term benefit and long-term damage. For example, draining swamps may reduce vector-borne disease hazards but also destroy the wetland ecosystem and its inherent services (e.g., water storage, water filtration, biologic productivity, and habitats for fish and wildlife). Research can help decision making by identifying and assessing trade-offs in different land-use-change scenarios. Balancing the diverse needs of people, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem will always be a prominent feature.

Conclusions

When considering issues of land use and infectious disease emergence, the public needs to be attentive to entire ecosystems rather than simply their local environs. Although we may not live within a certain environment, its health may indirectly affect our own. For example, intact forests support complex ecosystems and provide essential habitats for species that are specialized to those flora and that may be relevant to our health. If these complex relationships are disrupted, there may be unforeseen impacts on human health, as the above examples clearly demonstrate.

Encouraging initiatives.

Three new initiatives are rising to the challenges presented above. The first initiative, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), was formed recently to address these health challenges at the interface of ecology, wildlife health, and public health (Figure 2). At its core, conservation medicine champions the integration of techniques and partnering of scientists from diverse disciplines, particularly veterinary medicine, conservation biology, and public health. Through the consortium, therefore, these experts work with educators, policy makers, and conservation program managers to devise approaches that improve the health of both species and humans simultaneously [more information is available from the CCM website (CCM 2004)].

The second initiative, the new international journal EcoHealth, focuses on the integration of knowledge at the intersection of ecologic and health sciences. The journal provides a gathering place for research and reviews that integrate the diverse knowledge of ecology, health, and sustainability, whether scientific, medical, local, or traditional. The journal will encourage development and innovation in methods and practice that link ecology and health, and it will ensure clear and concise presentation to facilitate practical and policy application [more information is available from the EcoHealth website (EcoHealth 2004)].

The third initiative, the MEA, is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human health and well-being and for options in responding to those changes. This assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and will help to meet the assessment needs of international environmental forums, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as the needs of other users in the private sector and civil society [more information is available from the Millennium Assessment Working Groups website (Millennium Assessment Working Groups 2004)].

Challenges ahead.

As this working group of researchers continues to work on these topics, we face three challenges. First, strong trans-disciplinary research partnerships need to be forged to approach the research with the degree of creative thinking and comprehensiveness required by the nature of the problems. Second, if the work is to influence policy, the choice of questions and the research must be undertaken collaboratively with the local community and also through discussion with decision makers in government, industry, civil society, and other sectors. Third, investigators must consider how they can integrate their findings into the social, economic, and political dialogue on both the environment and health, globally and locally. As links between land use and health are elucidated, an informed public will more readily use such discoveries to better generate political will for effective change.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1 A systems model of land use change that affects public health. This model shows relationships between drivers of land use change and subsequent levels of environmental change and health consequences. Various levels of investigation and intervention are evident and range from specific risks factors and determinants of population vulnerability to larger institutional and economic activity.
Figure 2 The main elements converging under the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. Conservation medicine combines conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, and public health. Adapted from Tabor (2002).

Table 1

SOURCE :

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.6877