CHAPTER  92: Professional Opinion on the In vaccination of Syphilis.

At one time the invaccination of syphilis was thought to be impossible. No one disputes it now the proofs are too overwhelming ; they are so widespread. How easy it is to convey syphilis by means of vaccination was shown in 1800-02, several cases being on record as having occurred at that early period. Nevertheless, a few medical opinions and extracts from medical journals might be given in further substantiation of the horrible truth.

Dr. (now Sir) W. J. Collins, B.Sc, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., writing from St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 10th September, 1881, says that although "in 1805 an anti-vaccinator, Dr. Moseley, discovered that syphilis was communicable by vaccination, it was not till seventy years later that the majority of the profession were convinced of the fact."    He mentions a number of eminent men  who  have  averred  their  belief  in this    "ghastly    risk,"    including    "Sir    Thomas Watson, Professor Ricord, Dr. Trousseau, Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson, Mr. Simon, Dr. Ballard, Mr. Lane, and a host of other distinguished syphilographers."    He states that more than 700 instances of vaccino-syphilis are now on record, and that "pathology has taught us long since that syphilis may be conveyed by infected blood, or the secretions which are its offspring. Statistics complete the evidence by showing that the deaths from infantile syphilis per million births were under enforced vaccination (1867-78) 1,738, as compared with 564 under voluntary vaccina­tion (1847-53)."

In   an   " Essay  on   Vaccination,"   published   in 1868, Dr. Ballard, who afterwards became an official Vaccine Inspector, summed up the evidence as follows :—
"(1)    There are numerous cases on record to prove that the vaccine virus and the syphilitic virus may be introduced at the same spot by the same puncture of the vaccinating lancet.
(2) From several instances on record, there can remain no reasonable doubt that the vaccine virus and the syphilitic virus may both be drawn at the same time, upon the same instru­ment, from one and the same vesicle.
(3) The vesicle which is thus capable of furnishing both vaccine and syphilitic virus may present, prior to being opened, all the normal and fully-developed characters of a true Jennerian vesicle, as ordinarily met with."

The "Pennsylvania Medical Journal,"  September,  1871,  says :—
"American mothers at last are no more free from the plague of 'vaccination' than are British parents.    What a prospect for humanity is this propagation of loathsome, contagious diseases !    National virusation by a staff of State officers to 'preserve' the public health !
    All the vaccine virus now sold in Alaska Street, Philadelphia, is obtained from children suffering under the influence of scrofula, syphilis, or some kindred pestilence. The vaccine station is neither more nor less than a cesspool of germinal horrors.

    "Some years  since,  some  terrible  cases  came to light . . . which were caused by one vaccinator infecting a whole district with syphilis by vaccination. In the beginning of this year a similar misfortune occurred in the neighbourhood of Melnik, when a number of children in several districts got syphilis by vaccination, and several died of it. Such epidemics probably occur more frequently than they are described as doing. In the earlier times of the practice of vaccination, no one dared to write anything against it, and thus no means existed of obtaining a correct knowledge of conditions like   these."—Josef   Hamernik,   M.D.,   Professor of  the University of Prague,  Bohemia,  in  "The History of Small-Pox and Vaccination,"  1872.

    The   assertion   that   blood   only   conveys   the disease    (syphilis)    is   more   hypothetical   than demonstrated.    It is difficult to understand that what  the   blood   serum   contains,   the   vaccinal serum does not contain also ; indeed, it is practically very difficult to take vaccine   without my   mixture   of   blood."—From   the  "Clinique Medicale,"   Vol.   I.,   pages   116-8,   by   Professor Trousseau, M.D.,  late Physician to the Hotel Dieu, Paris, 1874.

"Every    physician    of    experience    has    met with numerous cases of cutaneous eruptions, erysipelas, and syphilis which were directly traceable to vaccination, and if these could all be collected and presented in one report, they would form a more terrible picture than the worst that has ever been drawn to portray the horrors of small-pox."—"Vaccination : Its Fallacies and Evils," page 13, by Professor Robert A. Gunn, M.D., New York,  1877.

"Syphilitic contamination by vaccine lymph is by no means an unusual occurrence, and it is very generally overlooked, because people do not know either when or where to look for it. I think that a large proportion of the cases of apparently inherited syphilis are in reality vaccinal ; and that the syphilis in these cases does not show itself until the age of from eight to ten years, by which time the relation between cause and effect is apt to be lost sight of."—Mr. Brudenell   Garter,   P.R.C.S.,   L.S.A.,   Ophthalmic Surgeon to St. George's Hospital, in the " Medical Examiner," 24th May, 1877.

" There can be no doubt that the danger of transmitting syphilis by vaccination is a real and a very important one. . . . Until my original papers were published, almost the whole British profession was incredulous on this point; and in spite of the publicity which was then given to the facts there still remain, I believe, some who are either uninformed or unconvinced."—"Illustrations   of   Clinical   Surgery--Vaccination Syphilis," by Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson, F.R.C.S., Surgeon to the London Hospital, 1877.

"I can add my testimony to that of Dr.  Ange, who was seventeen years engaged in the Isle of Wight in curing cancer, to the great increase of cancer all over the Kingdom.   This is attributed by  some medical men to  the  large  amount  of syphilitic disease with which vaccine lymph is impregnated ; by others to the direct impregnation   of   healthy   persons   with   lymph   imbued with   scrofulous   and   cancerous   matter."—Mr. William Forbes Laurie, M.D., Edin., St. Saviour's Cancer   Hospital,   Regent's   Park,   London,   in   a letter to Mrs. Hume-Rothery, 3rd June, 1879.

In a paper which M. Depaul, the chief of the Vaccination   Service  of  the  French  Academy  of Medicine,   " published   in   1867,   which  embraced the record of little over a year's French experience, there were enumerated half a dozen more or less extensive outbreaks of vaccinal syphilis, m the course of which upwards of 160 children had been  infected,  and several  had  lost their lives."—Address   at   the   Calf   Lymph   Medical Conference,    by    Dr.    Charles    Cameron,    M.P., December, 1879.

" The vaccine lymph of the syphilitic may possibly contain the syphilitic contagion in full vigour, even at moments when the patient who thus shows himself infective has not on his own person any outward activity of syphilis."—Mr.   Simon,   F.R.C.S.,   in   the   "British   Medical Journal," 13th December, 1879.

"It is clearly proved that syphilitic blood may convey syphilis, but it is not yet proved that vaccination lymph from a syphilitic child, even though unmixed with blood, will not do so, and it would, therefore, be the height of imprudence to act on any such belief."— Lectures on  Syphilis,"  by  Mr.  Lane,  F.R.C.S., 1881.

The " Journal d'Hygiene," of 25th August, 1881, reported   that   Dr.   Desjardins,   of   Nice,   " in   a letter to the Editor of the 'Akhbar,' gives a complete confirmation of the syphilisation of the fifty-eight French soldiers in Algeria, on 30th December last, the particulars of which we have already set before our readers. The most cautious silence, we are informed, is preserved by the military authorities ; and not without reason, if vaccination is to retain its hold on popular credulity."

In   an   address   delivered   before   the   International Anti-Vaccination Congress at Cologne, 10th October, 1881, Dr. Charles Pigeon, Fourchambalt (Nievre), France, established the following propositions :—
 1st.—That variola is not relatively a serious disorder, and that vaccination is no protection against it, but renders it more dangerous.
 2nd.—That vaccination exposes the vaccinated to syphilis.
 3rd.—That vaccination exposes the vaccinated to several other diseases, and is the means of exciting sundry others, the major part of which are more dangerous than small-pox.
4th.—That vaccination is a powerful cause of the degeneration of mankind."

 In   their   mischievous   effects,    the   vaccine lymphs are alike, whether obtained from children or from calves. The one is too often taken from the classes subject to syphilis and scrofula, the once-dreaded 'king's evil' ; the other is specially liable to convey lung complaint ; and the peculiar morbid phenomena excited in the vaccinated patients is the compound result of whatever disease exists in their constitution, and the special fermentation caused by   the   addition   of   the   vaccine   complaint."—From the closing address delivered by Dr. Hubert Moons, Charleroi, before the Second International Anti - Vaccination Congress, at Cologne, 12th October, 1881.

" Many    deaths    have    undoubtedly    resulted from vaccination, and an unknown number of children have had their constitutions cruelly injured through vaccination with lymph from a syphilitic child."—"The Students' Journal ml Hospital Gazette," 14th January, 1882.

The whole of this mass of medical testimony (and more) was known to the Royal Commission. Indeed, on page 617 of the Sixth Report, Mr. II. II. Taylor, F.R.C.S., handed in a table, on 4th May, 1892, which gives a list of nearly a thousand cases and deaths from the invaccination of syphilis.

Dr. W. Scott Tebb, in his exhaustive work, "A Century of Vaccination," on pages 296, 298, and 306, gives a list of over 730, many of which are included in Mr. Taylor's list. When all duplicates are eliminated, there remains a gruesome catalogue of nearly 1,200 cases and deaths resulting from the in vaccination of syphilis. In the Makuma Vaccination Inquiry, about forty medical men testified to having experience of syphilis from vaccination.

There are other recent cases, including the shameful Leeds case (see " Vaccination Inquirer," July, 1891, page 58), which so indelibly stamps the proceedings of the Medical Department of the Local Government Board with an infamous disregard of professional honesty. Even Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson, in a letter to Mr. Brown, of King's Lynn, dated 14th March, 1891, and published   in   the   " Lynn   Advertiser,"   wrote :—

"During the last ten years, or, perhaps, considerably more, not a single instance of vaccination syphilis has been recorded in British practice. The risk, such as it is, is absolutely avoided by the use of calf lymph, and almost as absolutely by care in the selection of the vaccinifer."

It will scarcely be believed, but such is the fact, that at the very time this letter was penned, Mr. Hutchinson, as a member of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, not only knew of the case of Emily Maud Child, at Leeds, in 1889, but also contributed an article to No. 2 of "The Archives of Surgery," headed, "On three fatal cases of gangrenous ulceration of the arm after vaccination." This was, of course, intended only for    professional    consumption.      He    writes :—

"When such symptoms as snuffles, thrush, and eruption on the genitals in infancy are mentioned, not a few will hold that the suspicion is rendered very strong, if not, actually proven, in the same way, nodes on the head, bubo in  the armpit, phagedaenic sores, abscesses and eruptions on the genitals occurring in connection with a vaccination sore which has gone wrong, will be held by many as conclusive proofs that syphilis has been introduced. I cannot but freely admit that they bring with them much suspicion, and that this suspicion is strengthened  by  the  fact  that  well-experienced surgeons who saw these various symptoms and examined them carefully thought that they could be none other than syphilis. Further, there is the fact that two of the infants were thought to have been much benefited by mercurial treatment. . . . The cases look to me quite as much like vaccinia as syphilis. Whatever their real nature, it is, of course, impossible to refuse   to   recognise   them   as   the   direct   conequences of vaccination. Any attempt to do this would be, to my mind, a dishonesty."

The   Editor   of   the    "Vaccination   Inquirer," commenting on this in the issue of that journal July,  1891,  says:—

"At the present time our knowledge   or   ignorance   of   the   nature   and affinities of cow-pox and syphilis is such  that the results of the latter are indistinguishable by 'well-experienced surgeons' from the effects of contamination with the former, and it is only quite lately that Dr. Creighton's teaching on this point, supported by Auzias Turenne's writings and Crookshank's  pathological doctrines, is beginning to be grasped ; we hold it to be uncandid and fallacious to assert that syphilis is rarely conveyed by vaccination while affirming it may of itself occasion symptoms hitherto regarded as unmistakably syphilitic. It is unfair to the public and bad pathology, as well as casuistical, to go about saying in the lay press that vaccination will not convey syphilis to your child from somebody else, while in professional journals you admit that the vaccinated may get snuffles, thrush, buboes, nodes, phagedaena, and the rest of the catalogue of syphilitic abominables, from the pure and unadulterated  'Jennerian vesicle.' "

The "Archives" continue :—

"In reference to the possibility of conveying syphilis from a vaccinifer who did not reveal the taint by any visible symptoms or any degree of cachexia, I feel bound in honesty to say I have no doubt of it. No surgeon in his senses would ever vaccinate from a child which showed obvious symptoms. The fact is, however, that a certain number of syphilitic infants look perfectly healthy, whilst yet very efficiently contagious. There is no use and much danger in denying this important clinical fact.
    In my second series of cases the vaccinifer did not present a single visible symptom.
    It is absurd to assert that inherited syphilis is always to be detected, and it is a cruel injustice to imply that all accidents have been the result of carelessness."

Then Mr. Hutchinson concludes :—

" No reasonable   doubt   can   be   entertained   that   in   each  instance  the  infant's  illness  and  death  was a direct result of the vaccination."

The next number of the "Archives" (January, 1890)   commences:—

"The  facts  as  to  fatal  vaccination with sloughing of the arm, which I published in the last number of the 'Archives,' have brought me several communications as to other cases bearing upon the subject."

Mr.   Hutchinson  cites  several  cases,  including line   in   1891,   and   thus   concludes:—

"The   final supposition is that it is possible for vaccination, independently of any syphilis, whether implanted or hereditary, to evoke symptoms which have hitherto been regarded as peculiar to the latter malady, and which are apparently greatly benefited by specific treatment."

One of the most striking cases of the invaccination of syphilis of late years is that of Dr. Cory, the Director of the Animal Vaccine Station, and Instructor in Vaccination for the Local Government Board. He tested on himself the possibility of inoculating syphilis, and at the fourth attempt was successful. In the opinion of some, his death was accelerated if not caused by this syphilitic inoculation. The authorities emphasised this view by granting his widow a Civil List pension.

Initially, we have the weighty testimony of Dr. Charles Creighton, in his "Natural History of Cox and Vaccinal Syphilis" (London, 1887). At  page  124,  he says:—

"The origin of vaccinal syphilis remains, as Bohn says, 'shrouded in mystery.' Readers who have followed my argument hitherto will not be surprised if now I claim the phenomena of so-called vaccinal 'syphilis' as in no respect of venereal origin, but as due to the inherent, although mostly dormant, natural-history characters of cow-pox itself."

Dr. Creighton also observes at page 155 :—

"The real affinity of cow-pox is not to the small­pox, but to the great-pox. The vaccinal roseola is not only very like the syphilitic roseola, but it means the same sort of thing. The vaccinal ulcer of everyday practice is, to all intents and purposes, a chancre. It is apt to be an indurated sore when excavated under the scab ; when the scab does not adhere, it often shows an unmistakable tendency to phagedaena. There are doubtless many cases of it where constitutional symptoms are either in abeyance or too slight to attract notice. But in other instances, to judge from the groups Of cases to which inquiry has been mostly directed, the degeneration of the vesicle to an indurated or phagedrenic sore (all in its day's work) has been followed by roseola, or by scaly and even pemphigoid eruptions, by iritis, by raised patches, or sores on the tonsils and other parts of the mouth or throat, and by condylomata (mucous tubercles) elsewhere."