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AIDS oral manifestations properly viewed as reservoir & source of infection

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Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98

In the 6th Century B.C., the physician to King Ashurbanipal of
Assyria advised the king to have his diseased teeth pulled in order
to relieve his (rheumatic) aches and pains.
This same knowledge, known as the concept of focal infection,
was also responsible for physician Benjamin Rush's ascendence to
the top of his profession in the post-revolutionary U.S. Within
weeks following implementation of Rush's recommendation that their
diseased teeth be extracted, a number of severely crippled
arthritis victims were once again able to walk without assistance.
Rush had also specifically implicated the teeth as "unsuspected
causes ... particularly of nervous diseases." (Rush, 1818)

In the early years of the current century, this concept was
brought to new levels of sophistication, and irrefutable
validation, by the great works of Frank Billings and his fine
associates. Billings, President of the AMA in 1902 and generally
acknowledged as the father of modern American Medical Education,
regarded his work with focal infection as his greatest
accomplishment, as reflected in his 1916 book FOCAL INFECTION.
Billings's work on the subject involved investigation of the
relation between diseases of the oral foci, particularly in and
around teeth, and a wide range of systemic diseases.

Many fine physicians and dentists worked with Billings and/or
followed in his footsteps. On the specific subject of mental
illness, Cotton in 1919 built on the works of both Upson and
Billings. But the truly definitive work on the subject was that
of bacteriologist E.C. Rosenow, who had worked with Billings for
more than a decade and subsequently went on to serve nearly three
decades with the Mayo Foundation as head of experimental
bacteriology. Rosenow's work and that of many associates and
others went far beyond merely fulfilling Koch's postulates for
a wide range of diseases, establishing for all time the definite
role of infections in oral foci (teeth and tonsils). Former AMA
President (in 1934) Walter Bierring asserted in 1938, in JAMA, that
"perchance it is safe to assume that the Rosenow "heresy" will become
the medical guide of the future.

Although Rosenow did not specifically refer to AIDS, which was
unknown in his time, in his address to the A.D.A. Centennial
Celebration of dentistry, in 1940, he specifically referred to a
disease of the "blood-building tissues".
Rosenow did spend a considerable amount of time in the study of
M.S., a condition which has been suggested by many writers to be related
to AIDS; this began as early as 1916, with particular attention given to
M.S. in his later years. Rosenow's work implicated diseased (including
non-vital) teeth and/or tonsils as the primary source/reservoir for
causative organisms in a wide range of diseases, including MS. Rosenow's
definitive study on the cause of M.S. was published in 1948, drawing
on more than three decades of experience and investigation:
---Bacteriologic studies of multiple sclerosis, Ann. Allergy 6: 271-292,
May-June 1948.

In his last 2 published articles in 1957 and 1958, both of
which referred to MS and the last also to ALS, Rosenow
emphasized the use of subcutaneous injections of autogenous
streptococcic vaccine and thermal antibody. These were to be
continued over an indefinite period presumably due to the
continued presence of foci implicated in his earlier studies.
---Studies on the etiology and specific treatment of multiple
sclerosis, Ohio M.M., 53(7), July 1957, p. 783-5.
---Studies on specific prevention and treatment of diverse diseases
shown due to specific types of nonhemolytic streptococci, Am.
Practitioner and Digest of Treatment (Philadelphia), 9(5), May 1958,
p. 755-761.

For more information on the works of Rosenow, Billings and associates,
plus an overview of the tragic circumstances that have temporarily obscured
their grand legacy, please visit
<a href=""></a>

For further discussion of characterization of AIDS as a typical oral
"focal disease"; and details of Rosenow's method of preparation and
administration of
therapeutic antibody and antigen, as used successfully in therapy of M.S.;
please see
"AIDS" at

If AIDS indeed is properly characterized as a systemic condition sustained
by infection emanating from oral foci, e.g. teeth and/or tonsils, the direct
of removing such infected foci (beyond general systemic benefits) becomes
Beyond this, Rosenow's vaccine methodology, as specifically applied in the
case of M.S., would be expected to be of benefit.

S. H. Shakman

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