From the August 2002 Idaho Observer:


Who was Dr. Charles Campbell? Why has modern organized medicine forgotten his work?

by Walene James

Around 1900, the cause and control of two life threatening diseases was discovered, each by two distinguished medical doctors. One is famous. His name is in encyclopedias and textbooks. About 60 years ago, a movie heralding his discovery was made and a hospital was named after him.

The other doctor is practically unknown. I know of only one book written about his discovery and that, as far as I know, is out-of-print. In my opinion, his contribution was the more remarkable because he discovered the cause and cure of a disfiguring disease that has plagued mankind for thousands of years.

Doctor #1: Walter Reed

Walter Reed is the doctor first mentioned and the hospital named after him is the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

In 1900, he headed a commission to investigate the cause of yellow fever, which, along with malaria, was the main obstacle to completing the work on the Panama Canal. He and a medical staff carried on a series of experiments involving several doctors as well as a number of soldiers who volunteered to be infected by the yellow fever virus. Two died as a result, but the experiments established that the aedes aegypti mosquito transmits yellow fever. Walter Reed and his team said that the best control was to kill the mosquitoes.

However, isn't it better to eliminate the conditions that create a disease, rather than merely controlling it? In 1904, army surgeon William Crawford Gorgas was sent to Panama where he instituted sanitary reforms, cut back the brush and drained the swamps which were the breeding grounds of the mosquito. In two years he succeeded in eliminating yellow fever from the canal region. Outbreaks of malaria, a disease that was transmitted by the anopheles mosquito, was also brought under control using Dr. Gorgas' methods.

Doctor #2: Charles A. R. Campbell

The second doctor, Charles A. R. Campbell, discovered the cause and cure of smallpox. Through a series of carefully controlled experiments (even using himself as a subject) Dr. Campbell, along with Dr. J. A. Watts, discovered that smallpox, like yellow fever and malaria, was transmitted by an insect, cimex lectularius (Latin for bedbug). They also discovered that the disease was neither contagious nor infectious and that vaccinations did not prevent it. In fact, Dr. Campbell that from his own patient records, smallpox vaccination showed an 80 percent fail rate.

Even more importantly, Dr. Campbell discovered that the severity of the disease was directly proportional to the general ill health and malnutrition of the patient. He spoke of “scorbutic cachexia” and related it to scurvy, the “disease caused by lack of green food.” He said, “the removal of this perversion of nutrition will so mitigate the virulence of this malady as to positively prevent the pitting or pocking of smallpox.” (Bacteria, Inc., Cash Asher, Bruce Humphries, Inc., Boston, MA, 1949).

Even though Drs. Campbell and Watts and possibly others tried to publish their findings, their work was ignored. However, it was Dr. Campbell who first called attention to the bedbug as the carrier of smallpox. I might mention that Dr. Campbell was recognized as an outstanding scientist of his generation, even being nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work on the value of bats as mosquito eradicators. Today he is all but forgotten. Few have heard of him and now smallpox is considered highly contagious and dangerous with no known cure.

Why is one doctor honored and the other ignored?

When cimex lectularius was exposed as the carrier of smallpox, the manufacturing of serums had grown into a profitable industry and smallpox vaccinations had become a lucrative part of medical practice. The vaccination of every child had become an established practice. Many states had laws making vaccinations compulsory for school entrance requirements. When the cause and control of yellow fever was discovered, the vaccine for it had not been developed (It was developed in 1937).

Perhaps even more economically threatening was Dr. Campbell's assertion that a change in diet, not drugs or vaccines, could prevent the pocking or pitting of smallpox, even mitigating the severity of the disease.

For your consideration: Economics run organized medicine, not the desire to ameliorate the conditions conducive to human suffering. Is history written by those in power to reinforce their position of power? Do you think this brief description of two different outcomes for two discoveries made about the same time is an isolated example?

For further research: Could the nutritional principal discovered by Dr. Campbell be applied to other insect-borne diseases, thus mitigating their severity?

History has conveniently forgotten Bechamp who proved that dis-ease causes germs while deifying Pasteur, the father of the pharmaceutical age, for errantly convincing the world that germs cause disease. Similarly, we have been taught since kindergarten to revere Thomas Edison for giving us electricity and lightbulbs when the work of his contemporary and nemesis Nicola Tesla could have given free energy to the world. If Dr. Campbell and his work were common knowledge today, people would view the Bush administration's plan to vaccinate every man, woman and child in America against smallpox as the most medically illogical public health policy since blood letting.