Rabies vaccination
Hans Ruesch (Slaughter of the Innocent)

Robert Koch was the first to obtain a pure culture of anthrax germs, responsible for the cattle and sheep disease, and Pasteur made a vaccine from it by reducing the power of germs. Many historians call that the first vaccine in history, as if Jenner and the Orientals had never existed. At any rate, an immediate controversy between Pasteur and Koch ensued, each one accusing the other of plagiarism.

Pasteur then proceeded to develop a vaccine against rabies, or hydrophobia, which may represent the most disconcerting case in the entire disconcerting field of vaccines.

Only an infinitesimal percentage of people bitten by a rabid animal catch the infection. But if it develops, it is supposed to be always mortal. So to be safe, everybody who has been bitten by an animal suspected to be rabid gets the special treatment developed originally by Pasteur. But sometimes the vaccinated person dies anyway. In that case the death is attributed to a defective vaccine. But often it has been demonstrated that the vaccine and not the bite caused the infection—for instance when the animal later on turned out to be healthy. Even if the animal is rabid, the bite very seldom causes the infection—and never causes it if the normal hygienic rules are followed, like the immediate washing out of the wound with water.

In his best-selling Microbe Hunters,, (Harcourt, Brace, 1926/1953) Paul de Kruif gave a highly fanciful account of 19 Russian peasants who, bitten by an allegedly rabid wolf, traveled to Paris in order to receive the newly announced Pasteur treatment from the old master himself. According to de Kruif, 16 of these Russian patients were "saved" by Pasteur’s shots and "only three" died. Pasteur became an international hero after that exploit and contributed substantially to the glamorization of "modern" laboratory Science. Three deaths out of 19 makes over 15 percent casualties. But knowing, as we know today, that not one in a hundred people bitten by a rabid dog is likely to catch the infection, we must infer that at least some and probably all three of those Russian peasants died because of Pasteur’s vaccine, as did uncounted people later on. Besides, at the time there were no facilities in Russia to find out whether a wolf had rabies. Hungry wolves attacking villagers in winter were a common occurrence; and even today many people, in Italy for instance, believe that any dog that bites them must be affected with rabies, otherwise it wouldn’t have bitten them.

Some informed doctors believe that rabies, as a separate and distinguishable disease, exists only in animals and not in man, and that what is diagnosed as rabies is often tetanus (lockjaw), which has similar symptoms. Contamination of any kind of wound can cause tetanus, and it is interesting to note that today in Germany those who get bitten by a dog are regularly given just an anti-tetanus shot. According to Germany’s most authoritative weekly, exactly 5 Germans are supposed to have died of rabies in 20 years (Der Spiegel, 18/1972, p. 175). But how can anyone be sure that they died of rabies? Hundreds die of tetanus.

Among the many doctors I have questioned in the U.S. and Europe, I have not yet found one who can guarantee that he has seen a case of rabies in man. The number of cases reported by the U.S. Public Health Service in its Morbidity and Mortality Annual Supplement for all of 1970 was exactly two—among 205,000,000 people. Provided the diagnosis was correct. This compares with 148 cases of tetanus reported, 22,096 of salmonellosis, 56,797 of infectious hepatitis, 433,405 of streptococcal infections and scarlet fever.

Doctors who are faced for the first time with a case of suspected rabies complain that they have no precedents to go by. The main difficulty Pasteur met with in perfecting his alleged vaccine, which often caused paralysis, consisted in finding rabid dogs; finally he had to get healthy dogs, open their cranium and infect them with the brain substance of the only rabid dog he had been able to get hold of.

Pasteur never identified the rabies virus. Today, everything concerning this malady is still more insecure than at Pasteur’s time.

Only one thing is sure: ever since Pasteur developed his "vaccine," the cases of death from rabies have in-creased, not diminished.

Currently, rabies is presumed to be established in autopsies by the presence of "Negri corpuscles," so named after an Italian physician who in 1903 announced to have discovered them in the plasma of the nerve cells and the spinal nerves of rabid dogs. However, Dr. John A. McLaughlin, a prominent American veterinarian who in the sixties was called to investigate a widespread outbreak of alleged rabies in the State of Rhode Island and performed numerous autopsies on dogs during the height of the scare, found animals with "rabies" symptoms that had no Negri corpuscles whatever, whereas dogs that died of unrelated diseases had them in abundance. A veterinarian from Naples, where there is a fixation of fear of rabies, showed me in a textbook the image of a Negri corpuscle—the only one he had ever seen—that looked undistinguishable from the Lentz-Sinigallia corpuscles that occur in dogs who have distemper. Nobody knows how many dogs affected by mere distemper have been killed by order of sanitary authorities whose zeal overshadowed their knowledge.

A few years ago, Dr. Charles W. Dulles, widely-known Philadelphia physician and surgeon and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania on the History of Medicine, had this to say: "I might cite my own experience in the treatment of persons bitten by dogs supposed to be rabid, which has furnished not a single case of the developed disease in 30 years, and I probably have seen more cases of so-called hydrophobia than any other medical man.

Every real expert is aware that nothing is known for sure except what Hippocrates already knew: that the best protection also against this infection is cleanliness. The No. 523 of the World Health Organization Technical Report Series, entitled WHO Expert Committee on Rabies, Sixth Report, 1973 (meaning that there have been no less than five previous WHO reports on the same subject) announces that evidence is accumulating that parenteral injection of antirabies vaccine causes human deaths "under certain conditions" (p. 20), and states (p. 17): "The Committee recommends that production of Fermi-type vaccines, since they contain residual living virus, should be discontinued."

"Residual living virus" is a pretty serious charge to bring from high quarters against a vaccine, but nobody seems to pay much attention to all this, or to understand what it means. It simply means that probably the very rare cases of humans who died of what has been diagnosed as rabies, have not died from something received from a dog but from a doctor.

But the climax of that WHO report is on page 27: "The Committee emphasized that the most valuable procedure in post-exposure treatment is the local treatment of wounds. This should be done by thorough washing with soap and water. . ." And on the next page the point is repeated: "Immediate first-aid procedures recommended are the flushing and washing of the wound with soap and water." So it took no less than 6 reports by WHO "experts" to reach the conclusion that Hippocrates had been advocating.

In fact whoever reads carefully this and other WHO reports, notices that serious students of medicine can rely on very little except Hippocratic hygiene and common sense. But WHO can’t admit it, otherwise the public might ask: "What is the use of WHO?" Who is housed in one of the biggest, costliest buildings of modern times, with large, empty halls, libraries lined with every medical publication issued throughout the world, with numerous executives who draw fat salaries to do nothing, and a regiment of smart secretaries to help them. This huge real-estate complex, surrounded by the silence of well-groomed lawns and flower gardens in one of the most beautiful Alpine settings outside Geneva, represents the counterpart of the millions of laboratory animals wasting away under scientific torture the world over.

Lately, still a new vaccine against rabies has been developed, which has been described as a "fantastic breakthrough" by WHO officials. The report in Time (Dec. 27, 1976) reads in part: "Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of US and Iranian doctors last week reported that they recently administered the vaccine in a series of only six shots to 45 Iranians who had been bitten by rabid animals. Not a single victim developed rabies or showed a severe allergic reaction. Reason: the new vaccine, unlike the old, is cultured in human rather than animal cells. Thus, while the patients develop antibodies against rabies, they do not suffer painful reactions to the foreign animal protein."

For the past hundred years antivivisectionists and other sensible people have been saying that there must be better ways for medical science than the ones recommended by Claude Bernard, and that Pasteur’s alleged antirabies vaccination was humbug. Now official science is at last catching up to this obvious truth, and all the big men want to get into the act.

A headline in Germany’s medical news weekly Sdecta (May 16, 1977), which read "Problem of Rabies Vaccine Solved?" must have surprised many readers who had until then been brainwashed into believing that Pasteur had solved that problem long ago, since it has always been presented as his main claim to fame. The article reported a round-table of German virologists, who gave hell to Pasteur’s alleged vaccine, and cited one Prof. Richard Haas who had defined it ‘an archaic monster."