Bluetongue can be a deadly disease of sheep. The standard approach to an outbreak is vaccination, vaccination, & more vaccination. A new study shows that these vaccines cause an autoimmune neurological disorder called ASIA—the same that vaccines can induce in humans. This study of Spanish sheep provides a frightening look into its frequency and severity. What does it mean in humans?
by Heidi Stevenson
The powers-that-be refuse to do studies comparing the health of vaccinated against unvaccinated children. However, Spanish animal pathology researcher, Lluís Luján, was concerned with serious health problems in sheep following mass vaccination to combat bluetongue, a viral disease spread by insects. So, a study was done to compare vaccinated versus unvaccinated sheep. The results should concern everyone. Though the percentages of affected sheep varied widely, as many as 100% of some flocks were devastated by the vaccine-induced disease called autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA).
Researchers of the study, published in the journal Immunology Research, describe a syndrome that has an acute phase in only about one-half of one percent of sheep, from which most recover. However, a chronic phase develops later, and that is devasting, both in numbers and severity of illness. The economic impact is enormous. They describe it like this:
The chronic phase of the ovine ASIA syndrome is a more frequent event in our local conditions of ovine production and causes a neurological and cachectic process that has no parallel in ovine pathology, and it is a serious but unexplained concern for farmers and veterinarians. The chronic phase does not necessarily follow an acute episode, and it is
triggered by the combination of multiple alum adjuvantcontaining inoculations over the years and external stimuli.
Severity is generally related to stress. Conditions like cold weather, poor nutrition, and high levels of milk production result in significantly worse disease.
Frequency of chronic ASIA is about 50-70% of flocks, and up to 100% of the sheep within a flock. The syndrome runs through phases. It starts with “an excitatory period where affected animals show constant movement, abnormal behavior, restlessness and compulsive wool biting, resulting in animals with a very poor wool coat, a diffuse redness of the skin and thinning of the affected sheep.” During this time, the sheep exhibit a normal appetite or even an excessive one. However, this phase ends dramatically with sudden weakness, head tilting to one side, muscle tremors, and weight loss that moves toward cachexia.
In the terminal phase, the animals suffer from lack of response to stimuli, ataxia, and tetraplegia. They then fall into a stupor or coma, and die. They’re also known to have spontaneous abortions. They suffer from lesions of fat deposits, serous fat atrophy, ascites, hydrothorax, hydropericardium, and atrophy of skeletal muscles. Peripheral nerves become thickened in most animals. This can include primary nerves, like the sciatic, also.
Nerves in the spinal cord become necrotic. Most animals suffer from meningoencephalitis. Thickened peripheral nerves tend to be surrounded by fluid and mucous. Some demyelination and neuron loss was noted. About half the sheep were found to have membranous glomerulonephritis.
Stress conditions, such as winter lambing and cold weather, can trigger chronic ASIA. When there is an acute phase, it appears that it’s always followed by the chronic phase.
The researchers took 6 castrated 3-month old male lambs from an organic farm. They were divided into two groups of 3, one acting as controls remaining unvaccinated, and the other vaccinated according to the schedule on the right. The vaccines were for
a variety of ovine pathogens, including bluetongue (10 doses), Clostridium
(2 doses), Chlamydophila spp, Salmonella spp and abortive bacteria (2 doses). Each vaccine dose contained 4 mg aluminum salts and 0.2 mg thimerosal (thiomersal), for a total of 56 milligrams of aluminum and 2.8 mg of thimerosal. The controls were injected with a phosphate buffered saline solution.
The lambs were all kept together with their flock in their normal situation. The experiment ran from 28 June 2010 through 18 March 2011, which took the lambs through a winter cycle with their flock. On days 177, 254, and 261, pairs of control and vaccinated animals were killed for post mortem examination.
The weight of the lambs was tracked and reported on the graph to the left. Almost immediately, the vaccinated lambs weighed less, though not by a lot. However, notice how the weights diverge with the weighing on the 177th day, and the weight of the vaccinated sheep remains signigicantly lower. Winter temperatures started on day 164, causing stress that the vaccinated lambs were less able to withstand. Even after the weather started to warm again, you can see that, though both the controls and the vaccinated lambs gained weight, the vaccinated ones never made up the 8.5% difference lost during the stressful cold time.
The researchers report that the vaccinated lambs exhibited different behaviors, including “an array of nervous clinical symptoms”, which worsened as time went on. They demonstrated periods of “depression with reluctance to move, light stupor and tendency to collapse when handling.” These periods of stupor and little movement alternated with “periods of excitement and abnormally stimulated behavior.” Note that this is much like what’s described for sheep in the early stages of ASIA syndrome.
The lambs were sacrificed and their tissues examined. The post mortem studies showed:
The amount of mercury and aluminum in blood was examined in the 6 experimental animals, and also in 5 sheep with advanced ASIA disease:
The researchers’ primary concern is that the bluetongue vaccine was mandated for all sheep in Spain. After it was implemented, the effects on sheep flocks were devastating. Spanish sheep were inoculated four times per year for bluetongue—2 vaccines for different varieties of bluetongue, and then boosters for both each year. Each injection included aluminum adjuvant.
This study injected lambs with a more aggressive vaccination program in their first months of life. However, the total number of vaccines that each sheep receives year-on-year is greater than the lambs were given. They received a total of 14, while sheep in the flock normally received 4 standard vaccines each year, plus another 4 vaccines for bluetongue, reaching a total of 8 vaccines per year. So, any sheep past a year in age has already received more vaccinations than the seemingly over-vaccinated trial lambs.
Those 14 vaccines triggered an immediate acute ASIA response in the trial lambs, and experience has shown that it almost certainly would have turned into chronic ASIA, had the animals not been killed for the study.
As the results demonstrate, the toxic load of adjuvant aluminum that accumulates in blood and the central nervous system is very high over time, and its effect in the form of ASIA is devastating.
The question that must be addressed is whether the bluetongue vaccine makes sense in the face of ASIA syndrome. A natural part of the life cycle of these sheep involves the stress of winter cold. Its effect on the lower weight of vaccinated lambs is clear, and this study demonstrates that the stress will result in a significant number of sheep being lost—and in a particularly cruel manner.
So, let’s take a look at bluetongue. It’s caused by a virus that’s carried by some insects, such as midges. It can never infect humans, so protection for people is not necessary.
Bluetongue primarily affects sheep, then goats, and some cattle. In sheep, the disease can range from quite mild to deadly. It causes a nasal mucous discharge and fluid buildup around the mouth. In severe cases, the lips and tongue can be badly swollen, causing the tongue to protrude and become cyanotic—that is, turn blue, which gives bluetongue its name. The rest of the head and ears can develop edema. Excess blood can build up around the hooves, and if the animal is driven to keep moving, it can result in loss of the hoof. In severe cases, torticolis—twisting of the neck—can occur, along with vomiting, pneumonia, and conjunctivitis. The disease does need to be taken seriously.
However, death is not a given, and the death rate can be nil. The average mortality usually runs from 0-30 percent, though in particularly susceptible sheep, it can reach 100 percent. Only about 5% of cattle become ill from bluetongue, and death is rare.
Compare bluetongue with the devastating effects of its vaccine, and it doesn’t make much sense to be vaccinating against it. If a sheep has been infected and survives, then that sheep will be fine. However, when a sheep gets ASIA, then that sheep has a death sentence—and the reality is that it doesn’t appear to be any more likely that sheep will be harmfully infected with bluetongue than that they’ll be hit with ASIA from the vaccination.
ASIA is not simply a disease of sheep. Human versions of it are becoming better recognized, and their severity is much like that in sheep. Macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) is one of them. Others may include Gulf War syndrome and other vaccine-related conditions. MMF is known to be induced by the vaccine adjuvant aluminum.
It’s certainly true that the fact aluminum in vaccines causes debilitating and deadly ASIA in sheep does not necessarily translate to humans. However, the evidence that aluminum adjuvants do cause ASIA-like syndromes in humans, coupled with how devastating ASIA is in sheep, not to mention how common, should trigger a regulatory response to eliminate aluminum from vaccines. Indeed, it ‘s truly impossible to find any reason other than selling out to explain why it’s still in them.
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