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This is an extract of my article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book Fibromyalgia, only the tip of the Iceberg ?

Fibromyalgia is a most unusual illness, that is as yet not well understood. Decades of research, an amazing collection of physicians, thousands of consultations and an astonishing variety of diagnoses have failed to deliver even a glimmer of an effective treatment.

This study thoroughly investigates the disease, the medical procedures, the diagnosing methods, associated conditions, the sometimes obscure workings of the health industry, and comes up with some remarkable findings. Well documented and extensively referenced.

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The Human/Animal boundary

 Escherichia Colli bacteriumScientists still don't know how bacteria cross the human-animal boundary. The particular E. coli O157: H7 mutation has an extraordinary resistance against conventional antibiotics, and in humans it produces a toxin that causes bloody diarrhea, and in some cases completely locks up the kidneys. The only treatment is a kidney dialysis and intravenous nutrition, in the hope that eventually the kidneys resume their normal job.

What is new to the human variant of this bacterium is that earlier it could only be sustained after eating contaminated food, usually meat. The bacteria access the intestines and begin their destructive work. A simple and adequate protection is to cook the meat before eating it, which is the reason why one should never eat an improperly cooked hamburger. However, as a potential remedy to eradicate this bacteria in sick young children, it might be rather inconvenient to cook them in a large casserole...

MRSA: the Golden Staph

Staphylococcus Aureus bacteriumSomewhat less publicly known is the bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus. In some occasions, it has been tagged with the somewhat obscure acronym of MRSA , for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. These bacteria are normally massively present in our skin, and they can cause pimples or even open wounds, if our immune system fails to eliminate them rapidly.

In surgery practice, the Golden Staph has become a very tough rascal, that can cause nasty infections in cuts, wounds, blood and the lungs. Furthermore, it has built up a strong resistance against conventional penicillin-based antibiotics, and all hospitals have become extremely cautious.

What is even more worrisome, is that infections with this bacterium used to be found only in and around hospitals, homes for seniors and health centra in general, but the resistant variants now also appear in prisons, schools and sports centers. At first, scientists assumed that they "blew over" from hospitals, but a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that 17% of the cases appear spontaneously from inside the community, without any link to a hospital.

To make the story still more "interesting", another study shows that the resistant "Golden Staph" may even assume a "flesh-eating" attribute from its cousin Streptococcus. In Los Angeles, 14 patients were diagnosed with the very unusual Necrotizing Fasciitis. In understandable language this means that they were simply eaten alive by the bacteria... The only remedy is to surgically remove the infected part, and never before had Staph been associated with this terrible disease.

The spreading of "new" diseases

In our modern times, the widespread Internet use produces easy orders for about every conceivable exotic animal. For a mere $ 6,000 you'll find a kangaroo in your mailbox! Alas, along with their exotic Iguana some unwary buyers unintentionally imported Salmonella, and along with their cute marmots came Monkey Smallpox...

Modern technology is partly to blame for the spreading of "new" diseases. A debatable "progress" in modern food was for instance the prion that causes Mad Cow Disease, or in more learned words, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Unfortunately, this contamination didn't remain limited to cattle, but also made the jump to the human kingdom!

Helicobacter Pylori virusIn 2003, the airlines were directly responsible for the phenomenally rapid spread of SARS in 30 countries, and on five continents. In underdeveloped countries, the recycling of non-sterilized disposable needles is the major culprit in the spread of diseases such as hepatitis, AIDS, Ebola and Lassa fevers.

But the danger doesn't only lie in underdeveloped countries. What will Global Warming entail in the future, in mega-cities of more than 20 million people ?

Far worse than what we know, is what we DON'T know. There are an estimated five thousand viruses, and far more than one million bacteria, most of which are still unknown. They can infect all of the 4,500 known mammals, including humans. But almost nothing is known about the microbes that infect birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish or lower animals. Undoubtedly, there will be many surprises in our future.

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