In 1918, a virulent, never before seen, form of influenza suddenly appeared. It seemed to kill within hours and spread around the world within days. It also appeared simultaneously all around the world. Its spread was faster than any currently known means of human travel.
In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization warned of repeats of such a rapid and deadly pandemic, through such variants of influenza as SARS and Bird Flu. But without knowing what caused the 1918 pandemic or how it spread, how can the CDC or WHO make such a claim, unless they already knew something they were not telling?
As yet no one has been able to identify the actual medical cause of the 1918 Flu, with only a few samples of a “bird-like” virus taken from several cadaver tissue samples with none of them a complete sample. In addition, there are only one or two samples from an estimated 20 to 40 million people who seemed to die mysteriously almost overnight. The 1918 Flu spread faster and killed more people than even the Plague and Black Death of the middle ages. So why does no one talk about it?
Even if the viral cause were identified, no one can explain the lightning fast spread of the disease. Maybe it wasn’t a disease after all.
Many researchers have even looked at some world-wide phenomena, such as extra-terrestrial biology filtering into the atmosphere from outer space. Or maybe, the jet stream spreading disease-laden dust from Asia all around the world in a matter of days. In an area of investigation where there seems to be no real facts and less logic, any “fringe theory” or “outre logic” is just as valid as any other. Maybe something about the 1918 Flu is being covered up. Something that we are not supposed to know.
Actually, there is another rather simple mundane solution to the medical mystery. There did exist in 1918 a new technical invention by which the “disease” was spread almost at the speed of light. The “1918 Flu” was spread around the world almost instantaneously by telephone. Of course, that claim needs an explanation and proof.
In the 1890’s an American chemist made an improvement on an old home folk remedy called Willow or Aspen Tea. It seemed to relieve the pains of old-age gout, arthritis and other assorted pains. But the evil-tasting tea, containing acetylsalicylic acid, was so strong that it caused many people to have nausea and vomiting, along with the pain relief—if they could tolerate drinking the tea. This potion was later neutralized, synthesized and buffered, and then sold to the German Bayer company as a pain reliever.
I have researched the source and history of the name “Aspirin” and found no reasonable explanation. However, I did find that the German Bayer company, in order to sell to both the American and European markets, used a name familiar in both markets. In America the common folk remedy form was called “Aspen Tea” made from boiling willow bark from the Aspen tree family. In Europe, the same home remedy was called “Spirain Tea” made from boiling the leaves of the common European shrub Spirae.
Both preparations were found to contain large amounts of natural acetylsalicylic acid, but unbuffered. Combining the common home-remedy folklore names Aspen and Spirain comes up with the Euro- American brand name Aspirin. My research is the sole source for the information about that unique derivation of the brand name.
The reason for the deep confusion and lack of any clear history about the trade name is that for almost a decade from 1905 to about 1915, the use of the trade name, and the source of the name Aspirin, was tied up in international courts. In the late 1890’s when Aspirin became available as an easy to use “pop a pill” replacement to the sour tasting Aspen or Spirain Teas, many people used it to relieve the pain of joint arthritis. Many users also discovered, quite by accident, a unique side effect. If you had a fever when you took the Aspirin, it also made the fever suddenly go away. What a discovery! It appeared to be a cure for the common cold and flu.
By 1905 many other drug companies were making acetylsalicylic acid preparations and calling it Aspirin, but they were selling it as a common cold remedy. Bayer took these other companies to court and sued over illegal use of their trademark. Many people believe that Bayer lost the decision and lost control of the name Aspirin. Most believe that Aspirin is now a generic name such as Kleenex, Scotch Tape or Xerox. Not so. It was an odd court decision and a confusing compromise. By 1915 it was decided in court that Bayer had the exclusive use of the trade name Aspirin, if it were sold as a pain- relieving analgesic.
The court also found that the other companies could use the name Aspirin, if in their ads and packaging, they claimed that their product was an anti-febril agent or a fever reducer. This odd court decision is still in use today. You can still buy Bayer aspirin to relieve pain and on the store shelf right next to it is Nyquil, Aleve, Tylenol, Motrin, Bufferin, Anacin and a whole long list of others, all containing aspirin or aspirin-like compounds and claiming to be treatments for Colds, Flu and Fever. Reducing fever was not in Bayer’s original patent claim. Bayer didn’t know in 1895 of the use of aspirin as a fever reducer and had not put that in their original trademark application.
So, how does that strange court decision fit into the rapid spread of the1918 Flu? The primary defense which the human body has, to stop the spread of viral infections is to produce a fever. The fever is not a symptom of disease, it is actually the body’s primary anti-viral immune system. The fever stops the telomeres on the ends of viral RNA from making copies of itself.
The telomeres are like a zipper which unzips and separates the new RNA copy within milliseconds, but the telomeres are temperature sensitive and won’t unzip at temperatures above 101F. Thus the high temperature of the fever stops the flu virus from dividing and spreading. It is an immune system response which only mammals have developed to prevent the spread of viral flu infections, mostly 99% come from the more ancient dinosaur-like earth life forms called birds. Almost all influenza is a form of “Avian Flu.” A few influenza forms come from other dinosaur-like life forms, such as the modern reptiles, but these are usually classified as very rare tropical diseases, since that is where most reptiles live.
The doctors in the early 1900’s didn’t know about that and even today few, if any, doctors are aware that fever is not a symptom of disease, but is the primary and only way for the human body to stop viral infections. If you stop or reduce the fever, viruses are allowed to divide and spread uncontrolled throughout the body. I have already described this process in detail in my articles posted in the Brother Jonathan Gazette in 2003, so I won’t go into detail here. Do a search on “SARS” on the Gazette and you’ll find the articles.
Normally the progress of a flu is that a virus enters the mucous membrane lining of the lungs, enters cells, then makes many copies of itself, which causes the cell to expand to such an degree that it bursts open. The new viruses then cloak themselves with a coating taken from the old damaged cell wall, thus hiding themselves from the human body’s own T-cell antibody immune defense system. To the body’s immune system the new viruses simply appear to be pieces of the body’s own lung tissue.
By creating a fever, the viral infection is slowed down sufficiently so that the body’s T cells can find the swollen infected lung cells, surround them and metabolize (literally eat) the damaged cell with strong acids which also breaks down the RNA viruses into basic amino acids. This effectively “kills” the viruses so that they can’t reproduce. But viruses are not living things and you can’t kill something that’s not alive. All the body can do is destroy or dissolve the RNA amino acid chain which makes up the virus.
Not knowing this, most doctors treat the flu with aspirin or fever reducers, as a palliative treatment to ease the aches, pains, and delirium fever effects. The result is that within hours, the fever goes down and the patient feels much better. What neither the patient nor the doctor knows is that with only a normal 98.6F body temperature, the viruses are allowed to reproduce unchecked. Within 72 hours, the viruses have grown from one or two virus bodies to millions or billions. The body is now completely overwhelmed. But while taking aspirin or cold medications, there are no symptoms or warnings of what is yet to come.
As a last resort the body tries to quickly flush the infection of billions of viruses from the lungs with massive amounts of T- cells, and fluid in the lungs to “cough out” the virus. This is called viral pneumonia. Within hours the patient is in the hospital. The doctors try to treat the now 105 degree fever with more anti-febril aspirins, or related medications to “treat the fever.” Then within another 24 hours the patient, suffocating and gasping for breath, is dead.
You should note that the original infection did cause a mild fever, aches and pains, which the patient “self-medicated” with over- the-counter products. For the next several days, the patient seemed to have no symptoms, but was actually growing billions of copies of influenza virus in his lungs. Then days later, the patient and doctor seem to see a sudden rapid case of viral flu infection that is now overwhelming the body. Is that what really happened?
What caused the patient’s death? Was it the original flu virus, or was it the use of Aspirin to lower the flu fever which then shutdown the patient’s own immune system response? Obviously, the latter. So how did this cause the massive rapid spread of the 1918 Flu?
The Bayer court case had just been settled, and many companies other than Bayer, could now legally market aspirin to treat colds and fever. But then “The Great War to End all War” was on, and most aspirin products were going directly to the front lines in France to treat the soldiers in the diseased hell hole trenches of WWI.
The World War I medics knew that aspirin could quickly reduce a fever. If a soldier had a fever, the docs gave aspirin. Magically the fever went down, the soldier felt better and quickly went back to the fighting. Then three days later, the same soldier was back, now with severe pneumonia and died almost overnight.
No doctors then made the connection between aspirin and pneumonia death, since the trenches were filled with many other seemingly related diseases such as diphtheria or tuberculosis. Death and dying on the front line was common, so no investigation was done. Aspirin seemed to be a god-send since it allowed sick soldiers to swiftly get right back into the fighting.
After the Armistice of November 11, 1918 the fighting stopped and the soldiers went home. The soldiers around the world announced the good news to their families back home. Most of the low-ranked doughboys had to wait till they got back to their homebase in Kansas, or wherever, to call home. They couldn’t afford the costly trans- Atlantic deep sea cable phone rates. But when the troops arrived in Kansas, the call from sergeant Tom was something like:
“Hey mom, I’m coming home. I’ll see you and dad next Tuesday in Chattanooga. How’s everybody? Oh, Aunt Esther has a fever? Hey tell her to take some aspirin. Yeah, that stuff in the medicine cabinet for treatin’ the aches and pains. Tell Esther, we used it in France. Works right away and the fever is gone. OK, see you Tuesday….”
So what does Esther do? She tries the aspirin, but the old Bayer label only says its for “aches and pains” and says nothing about fevers. She takes it and magically the fever is gone, and she feels much better, almost cured. She’s so much better, she gets out the horse and buggy to go see her sister, Lucy in Mt Carmel, where Lucy and the kids are down with the fever. Mt. Carmel has no telephones and even no roads, only the buggy path to reach the outside world. But within hours of sergeant Tom’s phone call home, by word of mouth, everybody in rural Mt. Carmel is now taking aspirin to treat fevers. Since the new information came from a soldier, from the US Army and the government, it must be true!
Within a week of the 1918 Armistice, by newfangled telephone, trans-oceanic telephone cables, and even the experimental ship-to- shore shortwave radios using Morse code, the message was flashed around the world — “Have a fever? Take Aspirin. It worked in France, it’ll work for you.” That message spread at nearly the speed of light over millions of telephone lines all around the world. The news of the “miracle cure” even spread by word of mouth within a day or so, even to places with no phones nor roads.
Mysteriously, a week later, doctors round the world now had hundreds of sick and dying patients. Nobody could figure out why. The patients themselves never reported that just the week before they did have a mild fever. But it was so mild that when they took some aspirin, it simply went away. Nobody made the connection. The doctors only saw, by November 24, 1918 thousands of very sick patients with high fevers, lungs filled with fluid, and swift overnight death.
The medical profession had never seen anything like it before, nor since. It seemed to occur simultaneously all around the world and even reaching into such out of the way places like Mt. Carmel with no telephones nor roads. How could such a massive fast-spreading killer disease exist? It didn’t. It wasn’t a disease. It was a new use for an old home folk remedy which everybody already had in their medicine cabinet, Bayer Aspirin to reduce fever.
The medical profession, at a complete loss to explain it, simply called it the “Spanish Flu” or the “1918 Flu” or many similar names. It was a mystery with no known source, so it was assigned many place names. So far, nobody has been able to prove any single pathogen was responsible. And even if they did, they still can’t explain how it seemed to spread world-wide at almost the speed of light, clear around the world within a week.
To this day there is no explanation. But, now you know. The “disease” was not a single pathogen, but many of the hundreds of similar types of flu which are always existing at any time around the world. What was different in November 1918 was the many hundreds of thousands of almost simultaneous phone calls from the millions of returning sergeant Toms saying, “…tell Aunt Esther to take the aspirin. It worked in France. It’ll work for her…” Nobody traced the spread of the 1918 Flu to sergeant Tom. Nobody made the connection.
That very same source of disease still exists today. What is different today is that cold and flu products are sold and used all year long. This results in an estimated one million deaths from mysterious viral pneumonia reported every year, but also all around the year. In 1918, the new use of aspirin for treating colds and flu all started at the same time in November, thus creating the false impression of a sudden massive onset of a new disease. Even today SARS is not a disease. It is the improper use of a brand new high- tech flu fighter called Tamiflu. The FDA approved the use of Tamiflu several years ago. In 2003 it began to be used world-wide. But how is it used?
Many millions of people around the world still self-treat their own colds and flu with over-the-counter meds containing aspirin. Those are the most commonly sold medications in the world. The patient’s mild fever quickly goes away. They forget about ever having felt sick. Then several days later the patient sees the doctor and now has a high fever, bad cough and fluid-filled lungs. The doctor, using the new CDC and WHO guidelines, treats the hospitalized “flu” patient with the new high-tech Tamiflu. But how often and at what dosage?
The doctors do what they’ve always done for the past 100 years. Tell the nurse to stick a thermometer in the patient’s mouth, increase the Tamiflu dosage by 10cc’s every hour until the fever starts to drop. Then maintain that dosage level until the patient dies. Then blame the death on some new highly contagious lethal virus. Nothing new here. It’s the same old story, since 1918. The only thing different is that they give it a new name like SARS, or Bird Flu or whatever sounds nifty and high-tech. Even today, each year about one million people world-wide die from the very same “disease” which first appeared in the fall of 1918. Has medicine, in the last 100 years, turned this “contagion” from Pandemic by Phone, into Illness by Internet? Is it the rapid and continuous spread of misinformation that is still killing millions?
Marshall Smith Editor, BroJon Gazette
— BROTHER JONATHAN GAZETTE