Allan D Sutherland
BY-PRODUCT OF WAR.
From the dawn of recorded history to the present moment there have been either wars or rumors of war, and every major conflict has been followed by pestilential disease. Cholera, bubonic plague, typhus, typhoid and influenza are some of the well known epidemic maladies, but there are many other which have been associated with deeds of valor in ages past and present. Disease, therefore, is one of the by-products of war and in all human probability the present titanic conflict will not prove an exception.
Consider for a moment the many factors of etiologic significance which have been at work since the day war was declared. Food rationing affecting millions of the population can only mean too little of certain foodstuffs compensated for in part by an excess of others. Millions of refugees are seeking sanctuary in foreign lands. Hundreds of thousands of men are held as prisoners of war, other thousands are detained in concentration camps. Mass migration is taking place on a scale never before experienced and everyone carries his own diseases and germs along with him; they are part of his baggage.
In a blitzkrieg so fast, so fierce, sanitary science can never hope to keep pace with the march of progress when even twenty-four hours have given the map makers a real headache. Towns and cities suffer disruption of their water supply and without water sewage disposal soon becomes a serious problem. The bodies of those who died, either to win an empire or to save civilization, lie decaying everywhere. The angels of mercy are outnumbered a hundred to one by the emissaries of destruction and many a poor wounded soldier must suffer it out to the last breath unassisted and alone.
The longer the war lasts the more will disease tendencies assume patterns and directional trends. Finally some one of these will undergo rapid evolutionary development and increasing virulence until a pandemic sweeps round the world. It may be influenza or it may be something as bad, or worse. Quite probably it will be some from of epidemic influenza with a high percentage of pneumonic complications as in 1918.
The influenzal cycle is said to be about thirty years or one generation. In about that length of time the general average of susceptibility rises again to a dangerous level. Should the war or a series of wars and revolutions continue to torture mankind for the best part of a decade the most lethal miasm in medical history may arise and lay a heavy hand upon humanity.
Will; the medical profession be in any better position to fight the new plague than it was in combating the flu epidemic? Probably not. Sulfanilamide and sulfapyridine may not be held in such high esteem by that time, having failed in their roles as panaceas. Laboratory detectives will hunt for the new germ or filterable virus and will probably fail to find the guilty party.
They will cook up new vaccines and serums, publish their claims and perhaps die of the very disease they were attempting to chase. Some amazing new discoveries will startle the medical world but the death rate of the pandemic will continue to range from perhaps forty to sixty per cent. Schools, churches, and places of amusement will be closed. History will repeat itself even in some instances to the digging of the graves by the relatives of the deceased.
Those who really know how to manage cases of acute illness will not be dismayed. Those physicians who put their patients to bed and keep them there, who restrict the diet to fresh raw juices and allow the patient whatever amount of water his thirst requires and who refrain from prescribing “strong” medicines and stimulants-such physicians will not kill their patients while attempting to cure them. What will be the range of their mortality statistics? Probably five to eight per cent. and that is low for a world wide pandemic.
Now suppose we call in a good homoeopathic prescriber and let us hope and pray that he will be a real master of the true art of healing. He cares not for the name of the disease. He is not in panic because of its deadly record. He does not prescribe on the say-so of some learned professor.
He selects the remedy on the basis of the symptoms and if he finds three or four sufferers in one household he may or may not give a different remedy to each according to the symptomatic indications of the individual patient. And about what will his mortality record be? Assuming that his case management is correct, it will average not above one per cent. of the cases treated. The time to prepare for the inevitable is every day, then when the time comes success is certain to crown our efforts.-E.U.,JR.