The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

The Cuban embassy problem and elk hoof rot

 

December 28, 2017



To The Eagle:

There is one disease that can explain the symptoms of the Cuban-American brain disease happening to the American embassy workers and not happening to the Cubans in the area.

The Cubans, millions of them, were immunized a couple of years ago against a water-borne disease named Leptospirosis, which is also the cause of elk hoof rot. Leptospirosis (lepto) can and does cause malfunction of every organ of the body of mammals except the salivary glands. Americans do not get the vaccine. We do not have a vaccine for leptospira approved for humans. We have it for dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, etc., but nothing for humans. Why?

The disease is complex to diagnose. Eighty-seven percent of lepto is misdiagnosed even though it is the world’s most common zoonosis. Meningitis is one of these common misdiagnoses. Lepto requires special culture media and techniques which routine laboratories do not have. It takes a special dark-field microscope, which most labs do not have, to see the organism. Lepto does not stain with regular stains, so one cannot see the organism in a routine lab. Many rural persons have been exposed and, therefore, have some resistance built up.

This is a disease of mammals that can infect man, so it is a zoonosis. Dogs, cats, farm animals, rats, mice, wild mammals, sea lions, polar bears, all get the disease that affects all the organs and gives symptoms characteristic of that or those organs. Lepto can be transmitted between species. It is especially transmitted by urine in fresh water. This includes rain and dew. Epidemics occur, killing people. There are over 200 different disease-causing lepto serovars.

Lepto is so variable and complex that the medical and veterinarian fields sort of throw their hands up and try to ignore it. But it mimics many diseases and kills all mammals including man. Elephants and whales get it, but not alligators or pigeons.

Cuba has a vaccine for man. Japan has a vaccine for humans, but America does not have a lepto vaccine for people. Why? We could if we wished and set our efforts to it. I will not live long enough (a few years) to develop and test a lepto vaccine, and even if I do, I will not be given the opportunity. I could guide someone else, but who is interested and has the courage? No scientist that I know.

So we go on in darkness and ignorance, letting our people and animals get sick, crippled and die to satiate jealous and biased persons to discover something new while using laws to keep others at bay. The disease can go on for another 10 years, or we could free up our citizens to solve the problem.

We could get rid of elk hoof rot and the Cuban embassy disease. It is probably the same disease.

Boone Mora, DrPH

Doctor of Public Health, Retired

 

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