News & Politics  
comments_image Comments

5 Strange Diseases Making a Comeback Thanks to Humanity's Stupidity

Climate change is expanding the geographic reach of some diseases. Others, once eradicated, have returned due to indiscriminate antibiotic use.

Continued from previous page


Undead: The Rabies Virus Remains a Mystery | Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik |  Wired| July 2012

Rabies is the rare disease that is almost 100%  fatal—you can count the number of known survivors in human history on your fingers. Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik document the medically induced coma that may have saved one of these rare survivors. 

Thousands of years of medical history say that Precious should not have survived. And indeed, some of the world’s foremost rabies experts refuse to concede that Willoughby’s theory of the disease is sound—or even that his protocol is actually saving patients. It’s a scientific controversy that underscores just how little we know about neglected diseases like rabies, which still kills humans in numbers that are significant (55,000 a year, by the most recent World Health Organization estimate, most of them in Asia and Africa), but not significant enough to rate much in the way of research funding.

Ticked Off (Lyme Disease) | Laurie Abraham | Health Magazine | March/April 1995

An enterprising neurologist finally diagnoses dozens of mysteriously ill children: it's chronic Lyme disease. She puts them on intravenous antibiotics, and they get better. But no, says the CDC and most of the medical establishment, there is no such thing as chronic Lyme disease. In 17 years since this story first appeared, both camps are still convinced as ever that the other side is wrong. 

The Lyme community's war mentality reaches its peak in support groups, an estimated 250 of which meet weekly in schools and churches around the country. The talk may be of "Lyme Brain," when a woman with the disease forgets, for example, that she put a teakettle on the stove or, infinitely more scary, forgets her name. Someone may mention a friend who acquired the disease from sand fleas, which becomes an occasion to berate government health officials who won't accept the Lyme community's assertion that myriad insects besides the deer tick carry the disease. But invariably the conversation turns to a species of vermin that chronic-Lyme patients loathe more than ticks: "ivory tower" medical researchers whose blanket rejection of chronic Lyme has left them derided as hypochondriacs.


See more stories tagged with: