A Rhetorical Question For Those Interested in Vaccination

Mark Doherty mdoherty at pop.niaid.nih.gov
Mon Aug 18 10:26:35 EST 1997

In article <19970816012801.VAA16181 at ladder01.news.aol.com>,
ateasd5941 at aol.com (ATeasd5941) wrote:

> Here's a rhetorical question for any doctors out there;
> If you were to vaccinate a person with AIDS for, say, measles and then go
> on to
> vaccinate another person with the same needle, what would you expect
> the outcome to be?

A lawsuit for illegally re-using a contaminated needle.

> Knowing the outcome of that little exercise, it would be safe to assume
> that any virus would pass on by using the same method.

No, only viruses present in the injured tissue, or circulating at
significant levels in the blood.

> So it would also be safe to assume that when Dr Edward Jenner discovered
> innoculation he also gave birth to the first iatrogenic illnesses which
> are
> being passed from generation to generation today. ( A challenge to 
> you to prove me wrong) I hardly think the first injections where 
> sterilised or had the needles changed, why would they? In the late
> 18th century they would not have known different.

It would not in fact be safe to assume this, since we know that iatrogenic
diseases are much older than Jenner - they are almost certainly older than
variolation.  Moreover, transmission by blood probably predates both of
these (See Chastelier's work on the transmission of leprosy by pandanaus
palm sleeping mats on pacific islands).

In simple language, you're way off base here.

> A warning for the future I think, it is also something to think about when
> you
> behave as if your patient is being a nuisance. If they have an inherited
> chronic illness remember where it could have come from, and humble
> yourself.

Well, a little humility is always a good thing.  However, it is generally
better to have it rooted in reality.

> Time for medicine to slow down because of what catastrophies are possible,
> afterall who wants to be in the most hated profession of all time? It does
> not need to be like that with a little common sence and the right
> attitude.

When a medical catastrophe (like AIDS) appears, the general public does not
seem to be clamouring for doctors and scientists to "slow down" - quite the
reverse in fact.

If you had spared a little common "sence" perhaps you wouldn't have posted
such a tissue of transparent nonsense.

Cheers, Mark

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