GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 9th  June 2005

Alarm at Increase in School Sickness : Action Needed on Bt 10

Reports of a high level of Influenza B striking schools in epidemic proportions after the MeNZb vaccination is a warning that the government should stop ignoring the risks presented by illegal Bt10 corn.

Work is urgently needed to investigate the possibility that the bacteria are mutating or recombining through horizontal gene transfer due to the method of production for the vaccine - vat fermentation in e-coli.

There is also a disturbing correlation with increased incidence of Influenza B that is having a significant impact on the school children of areas where MeNZB vaccination has been given.

The coincidence that both the life threatening diseases MeNZB and the Influenza B belong to similar families cannot be overlooked. In fact the Hib vaccine (H.influenzae type b strain) COMVAX used in the immunisation schedule is actually bonded to the N. meningitides or Meningococcal disease protein.

There is also a real risk of treatment for this combination being compromised through the corn gluten food chain. Bt 10- an illegal GE corn containing an ampicillin resistance gene -has entered the food chain.

Ampicillin is the first line of treatment for Haemophilus influenza and meningococcal disease, yet the Food Safety Authority and Minister of Health are doing nothing about it.

"Why is the government risking undermining the treatment of a lethal strain of both infections by allowing our food supply to be contaminated with Bt 10 corn containing the ampicillin resistance gene?" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment.

"We call on the FSA and Ministry of Health to look into the contamination event very seriously and take action to ensure that this will not lead to problems in treating disease".

Until this is done some people may want to take precautions and avoid corn products that may contain the illegal GE Bt10 strain with the ampicillin resistance gene.

Claire Bleakley. (06) 3089842


The Hib polysaccharide is prepared from H.influenzae type b, strain 20,752 and after activation with cyanogen bromide and derivatisation with an adipic hydrazide spacer is coupled to tetanus toxoid via carbodiimide condensation. After purification the conjugate is lyophilised in the presence of lactose as stabiliser.
COMVAX is a sterile bivalent vaccine made of the antigenic components used in producing PedvaxHIB* [Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) and H-B-VAX II* (Recombinant)]
(2) Vaccine Information - Haemophilus Influenzae type b: What sort of vaccine is it? .
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib vaccine) is usually given as the Hib/HepB vaccine (or DTaP/Hib vaccine after the age of 12 months). The Hib part is a subunit vaccine, made from the sugar (polysaccharide) coat of the bacteria. In order to help it work in young children, it is linked to another protein. Depending on the vaccine, this can be the outer membrane coating of the bug N. meningitidis, a tetanus toxoid, or a diphtheria toxoid.

(3) Exerpts from a GE Free OIA to FSANZ -"At the moment we are undergoing an epidemic of Bacterial Meningococcal disease (Neisseria meningitidis ). The current line of treatment for this disease includes the ampicillin antibiotic. Ampicillin is used for many types infections, such as:- Neisseria, Enterococcus, Listeria, Haemophilus and Staphlococcus. If the corn has the ability to confer amplcillin resistance it would be extremely dangerous and make these life threatening infections difficult to treat. It is important to the professionals and public to be made aware of this fact. I would like to also bring to your attention that European Union has halted all corn gluten supply imports from America over this issue.

Francisco de Assis Aquino Gondim, MD, MSc, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurophysiology, Department of Neurology, Hospital Universitário Walter Cantídio. Meningococcal Meningitis. 9th May 2005
At presentation, meningitis due to N meningitidis may be impossible to differentiate from other types of meningitis. Thus, empirical treatment with an antibiotic with effective CNS penetration should be based on age and underlying disease status, since delay in treatment is associated with adverse clinical outcome.
Standard empirical therapy varies according to age, as follows:
In infants younger than 4 weeks, it consists of ampicillin plus cefotaxime or an aminoglycoside.
Infants aged 4-12 weeks should be treated with ampicillin plus a third-generation cephalosporin.
In children aged 12 weeks to 18 years, a third-generation cephalosporin or ampicillin plus chloramphenicol is an appropriate combination.

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