A Canadian company's newspaper ad that claims oil of oregano is a safer alternative to vaccination to prevent whooping cough has health officials demanding a retraction.
The Province reports the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia is demanding Enerex Botanicals, a natural supplement company, publish a retraction to its ad claiming oil of oregano is an effective alternative to the whooping cough vaccine.
There has been an epidemic of the illness among children in a number of countries this year. In July, Digital Journal reported on a growing number of cases in the United Kingdom. That same week, Digital Journal reported that the Centers for Disease Control in the US, said the number of cases had doubled this year over last, with more than 18,000 reported cases. There have also been outbreaks reported in Canada, mainly in BC.
Children and adults have been warned to get vaccinated to increase prevention of getting the illness. But last week, Enerex published an ad in the Vancouver Sun claiming that oil of oregano is a “top-level defence for protecting yourself from whooping cough and a host of other viral and bacterial infections. It's nice to know that vaccines aren’t the only choice to combat this highly contagious bacterial disease.”
CTV News quotes Dr. Paul Van Buynder of the Fraser Health Authority in BC, saying, "We were worried that there were going to be parents and people out in the general community that, rather than listening to our message about vaccinating and protecting children, would use oil of oregano and then be exposed to the risks of this disease."
Bryce Wylde, a homeopath, author and TV personality, tells Digital Journal, "Oil of oregano has very effective antimicrobial properties and is a powerful ally in the treatment of most coughs - even those like whooping cough." He adds, "there are, however, no natural alternatives to vaccination. In other words, vaccines are prophylactic (although not 100% effective). If pertussis is circulating in the community, there is still a chance that a fully vaccinated person can catch this very contagious disease."
Van Buynder says he wrote the company a letter alleging the ad violates the B.C. Public Health Act, which makes it illegal to create a health hazard by interfering with efforts to control an infectious agent. He has given Enerex until Tuesday to respond and if it refuses, the health authority could seek a court order to force a retraction. He says it could also be investigated by Health Canada for making misleading health claims.
Health Canada says whooping cough, or pertussis, may start with symptoms like the common cold; a runny nose, mild fever and cough, but can then progress into severe coughing spells that can last six to 12 weeks. Complications for young infants can include; vomiting, weight loss, breathing problems, choking spells, pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and in rare cases, death. It says the best defence is to get vaccinated.