Re: Disease Control

Pat Fallon (
Sun, 28 Dec 1997 16:46:58 -0500

David A Musick wrote:
> One of the greatest problems facing Humanity is the spread of infectious
> diseases.

I understand pre-industrial societies suffer frequent and deadly
epidemics of many infectious diseases, flus, pnemonias, TB, smallpox.

However, today infectious disease constitutes only a small % of all
causes of death in the industrial world. Improving general sanitary
conditions and nutrition, improvements in shelter, etc., seems
correlated with declining mortality from infectious diseases. In the US,
mortality rates for diptheria, whooping cough, smallpox, etc were
falling precipitously before the widespread introduction of vaccines.

> Some may consider the diseases they harbor a matter of privacy and decry
> the governments' actions, while others (I believe the majority) will
> consider it a public safety issue and believe that no one has the right
> to (knowingly or unknowingly) infect others with deadly or debilitating
> diseases.

I'm troubled by the entire concept of public health, which is based on
the notion that a healthy lifestyle is not a matter of personal
responsibility, but also a government management imperative. Its' tools
are quarantines, mass immunizations, control of food
and water supplies, aggressive family planning programs, expensive
"wars" against cancer and AIDS, and regulating or restricting access to
alternative health therapies or dietary supplements.

When it comes to some crucial health matters, the state often does not
allow minority views. And there is no guarantee that the opinion
expressed by the FDA or NIH or CDC are correct.

Here's 2 examples...

1. Many people think that child hood vaccinations are safe, effective,
and should be mandatory, and that those that disagree are needlessly
endangering their children and others. Others point out that deaths from
these diseases had already plummeted before the vaccinations were
introduced, and that vaccinations carry their own risks. Further, some
argue that vaccinations prevent the full maturation of the immune

Whether I agree with them or not, I will allow them their minority view.
I would also want the state out of the vaccination biz, including
limiting the liability of vaccination companies.

2. Many people think the government was right when it told us HIV=AIDS
and launched a billion dollar War on AIDS. Others argue that this has
been a collossal mistake:

Whether I agree with them or not, I will allow their minority view. If
they are right, then the War on AIDS has been a tragic mistake.

I would be wary of even more government control of our health.

> Another likely consequence is that governments may require their citizens
> to be screened for disease periodically.

Likely, but is it desireable?

For example, there are good arguments that the AIDS test is non

and that HIV has never been properly isolated:

So there is a minority (myself included) who would be opposed to state
imposed mandatory screening for AIDS, for example.

> What if humans developed a procedure which could detect most or all known
> infectious diseases in a human that was fairly fast (< 2 hours) and
> fairly inexpensive (< US $100)?

Than those humans should quickly market their procedure and make

Should the state take over this development and oversee its benfocent
use, IMHO, no. Should the state be picking which labs to fund and which
diseases to target? IMHO, no.

> Disease control is certainly an extropic goal. What are some good ideas
> for achieving this goal?

Increase the wealth of individuals (this will improve their nutrition,
shelter, etc). Allow a full liability free market in health, replace the
FDA with private sector certification, get the state out of the health
care biz.

Pat Fallon