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Friday 5 November 2010

Homeopathy and Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is an acute, and severe febrile disease, transmitted by mosquitos. The main symptoms are prostration, chills, intense frontal headache, muscular and joint pains, nausea and vomiting, sore throat and rashes. Death is rare in the common form, but some patients go on to developed Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, where mortality can be high, especially in children. The acute symptoms can last about a week, but the disease can leave the patient with weakness, malaise and anorexia for several weeks.
Dengue occurs over large parts of the world, mostly tropical countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil. But it has also been known in areas of Europe over the last 200 years. In the past 30 years, the frequency of Dengue epidemics throughout the world have increased greatly.
Conventional medicine has no solutions for Dengue. The best it can do is to give advice about how to avoid it (which is sensible), and how to reduce epidemics from spreading once they begin. They have no vaccines. Anti-pyretics can be given to control temperature but they are largely ineffective. Advice about drugs is NOT to take them! Drugs such as aspirin, and other NSAID painkillers, is that they increase the risk of the more dangerous ‘hemorrhagic’ form of Dengue. Otherwise, it is drink plenty of water, and get plenty of rest.
In Brazil, homeopathy has in recent years played a part in its prevention and treatment, and what evidence there is suggests that homeopathy can play an important part in dealing with the disease. There were serious epidemics in 1986, 1995, and 2002.
The use of homeopathy in Brazil is reported in the paper “Homeopathy and Collective Health: The Case of Dengue Epidemics”, in Int J High Dilution Res 2008; 7(25): 179-185. This paper can be found at 
This is the Abstract of the Paper.
“This paper describes experiences of the use of homeopathy in the prevention and treatment Dengue fever in São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. May 2001, a single dose of the homeopathic remedy Eupatorium perfoliatum 30cH was given to 40% of residents of the most highly affected neighborhood. Thereafter, Dengue incidence decreased by 81.5%, a highly significant decrease as compared with neighborhoods that did not receive homeopathic prophylaxis (p<0.0001). Between April and September 2007, a homeopathic complex composed of Eupatorium perfoliatum, Phosphorus and Crotalus horridus 30cH, given to 20,000 city residents. This trial was aborted prematurely due to national political intervention; therefore, only partial and isolated data could be recorded. However, the results suggest that homeopathy may be effective in the prevention and treatment of Dengue epidemics.
The Epilogue said this of the brief experiment in 2007.
The use of the homeopathic complex was restricted to one single week in March 2007 due to a disagreement between the State and Municipal Secretaries of Health giving rise to a serious institutional crisis widely reported by Brazilian media, creating feelings of doubt and confusion among the population. This situation also seriously impeded our research, limiting us to a small sample and inadequate controls. In spite of this, we were able to collect interesting data that may contribute to the ongoing efforts to control Dengue in Brazil. Unfortunately, in the 2007 outbreak of Dengue in São José de Rio Preto, a consensus in April 15th among representatives of the National Health Ministry, the State Health Secretary and the Municipal Health Secretary suspended prophylactic administration of the homeopathic complex, a decision upheld by the Ministry of Justice.
It is a pity that ‘political intervention’ allowed only ‘partial and isolated data’ but this has become all too typical in the history of homeopathy, and its success in the treatment of acute epidemics of this sort. It has happened throughout the 19th Century.
In 2008, over 230,000 Brazilians contracted Dengue Fever between the months of January and April. The drug toll was over 100, mainly children under 15 years of age. Brazil’s health minister conceded that it had ‘lost its war’ against the disease, and said that people would have to ‘co-exist’ with the disease in future.
So much for political interference!
Yet the Brazilian experience is not the only evidence we have. Homeopaths have long known that homeopathy provides effective prevention and treatment for both forms of Dengue Fever. Homeopathy has at least 20 remedies in our Materia Medica that have been shown to be effective, at the various stages of the disease. Boerricke, who wrote his MM in the 1920’s, mentioned 12 remedies : aconite, arsenicum, belladonna, bryonia, cantharis, china, eupatorium-per, gelsenium, ipecac, nux-vomica, rhus-tox and rhus-v. To that, other remedies can now be added, like Phosphorus, Ledum and Cratalus.
And there are other trials too, like in India in 1996 (Central Council of Research in Homeopathy. CCRH News. 1996-1997). In this trial, the Dengue Fever nosode (a remedy made from diseased material) in 30c potency was administered to people in the Delhi area during an epidemic of Dengue haemorrhagic fever. 39,200 people were given the nosode; 23,520 were successfully followed up, and only 5 people had developed symptoms. This is an infection rate of 0.125%, compared to what is normally expected, about 50%.