BABIES INFECT MOTHERS; CRAZY THEORY RUINS LIVES
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/12
What can one say about tragedies like these?
“Kyrgyz Babies Pass HIV to Mothers
OSH, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Not long ago, she was a wife, mother and teacher. Now Dilfuza Mustafakulova is HIV-positive and has lost her husband and her job. Mustafakulova’s baby son was among 72 children infected with the virus at two Kyrgyz hospitals. Sixteen mothers also have contracted it — in some cases by breast-feeding their children. . . .
The scandal has led to charges of negligence against 14 medical workers in the impoverished former Soviet republic, where investigators suspect the children were infected by tainted blood and the reuse of needles. . . . Although HIV infection from breast-feeding is rare, it is possible, usually when the baby has mouth sores and the mother has lesions on her nipples, according to AIDS experts. Mustafakulova, whose son was 7 months old at the time, said her breasts were cracked and bleeding. . . . Some 1,600 people are infected with HIV in the Central Asian nation of 5 million people, according to official figures — 15 times more than in 2002. AIDS experts estimate the real number is closer to 6,000. The majority of cases stem from intravenous drug use. . . .
Mustafakulova’s troubles began in June, when her son developed a high fever. She took him to the Nookat hospital, where she said doctors put him on an intravenous drip. When he did not get better, she took him to the hospital in Osh, the country’s second-largest city. After more than a month in the hospital, her son still was not well and she was also feeling weak, so they returned to their village . . . . In October, they both tested positive for HIV. . . . It has not been established where the infection originated. Of the 72 children infected, some were treated only in Nookat and others only in Osh, so both hospitals are suspected. ‘Where else could my child and I become infected if I don’t use narcotics and don’t live an immoral life?’ Mustafakulova said during a recent visit to the Rainbow center. ‘This could only be the irresponsibility of doctors.’ She was abandoned by her husband . . . . No longer welcome in her in-laws’ home, she and her children moved in with her parents. She sold her only possession, a small plot of land, to pay for her son’s medical treatment. . . . The story of Mustafakulova’s fellow villager, Zarifa Shamshiyeva, is remarkably similar. ”
On what evidence do the experts rely for the view that mothers can be infected in this way?
Even the higher estimate of 6000 infected in a country of 5 million makes the rate only 1.2 per 1000, which is typical for low-risk populations in non-African countries where there has been no epidemic during the two decades of the AIDS era, despite continual prediction of such epidemics by “AIDS experts”.
Here’s an assignment:
In 2002, only about 100 people were infected.
Most new infections have come via needles.
Construct a plausible scenario to account for how this mechanism brought a 15-fold increase in infections in half-a-dozen years.
The tragedies here are not only the wrongly diagnosed babies and mothers. What about the doctors and other medical personnel who are being charged with negligence, when they did nothing to bring about this situation?
“Four health officials from southern Kyrgyzstan were fired for their alleged roles in the outbreak, including the directors of the two hospitals. The Kyrgyz General Prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.”
“Kyrgyz medical workers charged with infecting children with HIV” [Associated Press, March 20, 2008]
“BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: Fourteen health professionals in Kyrgyzstan will face trial for allegedly infecting children with HIV”