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Are Fever Reducers Fueling The Cancer Epidemic?

Affiliate Disclosure | in Everything Else | by | with 54 Comments

Doctor shows information on blackboard: measles

So, Imagine This . . .

You’re sitting in the ER, waiting for a small stitch after an incident with the not-so-friendly neighborhood chinchilla, and you overhear a doctor talking to a mother whose child has nephrotic syndrome. The doctors suggestion?

He would like to give the child measles.

Okay, this would not actually happen. Nephrotic syndrome is now managed with steroids, but up until 1969 infecting nephrotic syndrome patients with measles was a fairly common practice. Why, you ask?

It’s simple, really. Doctors treating children with nephrotic syndrome – a rare kidney disease – noticed that almost 100% of their patients spontaneously recovered after contracting wild measles. Analysis on why this works indicates that unlike steroids (which suppress the immune system), infecting the patients invigorated their immune system so much that they were able to cure themselves.

Um, Isn’t Infecting People With Measles Dangerous?


Great question! I’m no infectious disease expert, but I find it interesting that the common flu has a mortality rate of about 7%, which is 6.8% higher than the measles. (source: CDC)

“According to the CDC, prior to the introduction of the vaccine, measles was a nearly universal infection occurring most commonly in 5-9 year olds with 90% of U.S. children immune by age 15. Most kids recovered fully within a few weeks with life-long immunity. Reported complications from data collected between 1985-1992 included pneumonia (6%), encephalitis (.1%), seizures (.6-.7%), and death (.2%). These occurred most frequently in children under 5 and adults over 20. These complications may, in fact, have been exacerbated by allopathic interventions to treat common symptoms such as fever reduction using antipyretics.”

Dr. Tyson Perez – Measles: A Rash Of Misinformation

Additional research shows that giving a generous dose of Vitamin A to patients with acute measles is beneficial for the “prevention of mortality, pneumonia and other secondary complications in children.” (source) Cod liver oil, anyone?

Interestingly, the measles vaccine utterly failed to effect any cure when doctors tried to use it. Only patients whose immune systems were engaged naturally recovered.

So why isn’t this therapy used today? Some people believe the introduction of the vaccine in 1963 and the eventual end of the practice in 1969 were related. Perhaps it is harder to sell a vaccine when doctors are using the same disease therapeutically?

So You’re Saying Infections Can CURE?

440px-William_Coley_1892Not exactly. Let me tell you a little story that will explain. Back in 1890, Dr. William B. Coley was your real “under-achiever” type – his first degree was from Yale and his second Harvard! In the first case of his career, Dr. Coley treated Bessie Dashiell, a very close friend of John D. Rockefeller. Dashiell had a sarcoma on her hand, so the hand was amputated in perfect textbook fashion.

Unfortunately, “the cancer spread throughout her body, and she died a horrible death. Coley was shaken by the woman’s death and decided there had to be a better way to treat cancer. He spent many hours going through the records of New York Hospital until he found a clue. In 1885, a poor German immigrant named Stein had had surgery for round cell sarcoma four times, and his case was considered hopeless. Then he was infected with erysipelas. He nearly died from the infection, but when he recovered, the cancer was gone. Coley searched for Stein throughout the lower East Side ghetto until at last, six years later, he found Stein — in the best of health.” (source)

What did Coley do when his next sarcoma patient came? He infected him with erysipelas! The patient, named Zola, went into complete remission after overcoming the bacterial infection.

With this success under his belt, Coley tried again. Some terminal patients died of erysipelas, some went into complete remission, and some were unable to contract erysipelas and died of cancer. Over time Coley pinpointed where the therapeutic effect was coming from: It wasn’t a specific component of erysipelas . . . it was erysipelas’ tendency to induce a high fever.

Eventually, he figured out a way to induce fever without risking his patients lives – using a cocktail called “Coley’s Toxins.” Though his work was pushed aside for many years by mainstream therapies such as radiation, Coley’s Toxins are currently being manufactured in Canada by MBVax Bioscience. Every published study so far indicates that they are as good, or better, than modern therapies.

Fever Reducers, Vaccines And The Cancer Epidemic

are fever reducers fueling the cancer epidemic

So what’s the takeaway here? For me, it boils down to this statement:

“When I treat a child for fever, I consider myself to be treating cancer at that point.”

Dr. Thomas Cowan, 2011 Wise Traditions Conference (paraphrased)

What I believe Dr. Cowan was saying is that a properly managed fever can be protective against cancer and other inflammatory diseases. For whatever reason, we can’t just hand our body the “answer key” in a vial and call it a day. We tried that with the measles vaccine and nephrotic syndrome, and we’ve tried it in this case, too.

Injecting immunobodies and/or inducing high temperatures from external heat sources does not produce the same effect as a fever.

The body has to do the work itself – stimulating the fever, sending macrophages into defense mode, making interferon, maturing dendritic cells, the whole shebang.

By fearing fevers, have we traded certain infections for chronic diseases and even cancer?

“Your great-grandparents faced infectious diseases that hardly threaten you today: tuberculosis, polio, cholera, malaria, yellow fever, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, typhoid, typhus, tapeworm, hookworm…. But there’s also a long list of modern illnesses that your great-grandparents barely knew: asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis. The coincidence of the rise in these “inflammation” diseases, characterized by an overactive immune system, with the decline of infection is almost certainly not a coincidence.”

Wall Street Journal: Dirtier Lives May Be Just The Medicine We Need

No doubt some of you will think I am proposing an incredibly irresponsible approach. All I can say is this: There are reportedly more than 200 vaccines in the pipeline for infectious and non-infectious diseases. (source) Before we trade these diseases away, let’s consider whether they might be worth keeping around.

“Give me a medicine to produce a fever and I can cure any disease.”

~ Hippocrates

Further Reading:

5 Ways To Treat A Fever Naturally

Flu Shots May Double Your Chance Of Getting Sick

Pox Parties: Proven Immunization Or Russian Roulette?

A Dose Of Reality: Tetanus Vaccines Fail To Protect

Photo credit: Historical photo {{PD-1923}}


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54 Responses to Are Fever Reducers Fueling The Cancer Epidemic?

  1. Alicia says:

    I find this very interesting! My mom read last week that it has been clinically shown that people with cancer as adults were found to have had a remarkably small amount of childhood illness. It’s very compelling to consider that illnesses in childhood exercise the immune system for a healthier adulthood.

    • Alicia says:

      and, P.S. from my vaccine research a few years ago, I came away with the idea that measles, of any of the vaccine related illnesses, is one I wouldn’t mind my kids getting for the immune benefits it provides. Anyone I’d admit that to in real life besides my mom and husband would think I’m a lunatic.

      • Heather says:

        Ahhh, I know how that feels! In my area, it’s very hard to find out who has the chicken pox because people are so secretive about confessing that they’ve attended a pox party or similar event!

      • Leslie Flanders says:

        Not arguing but I had every chilhood disease…mumps and measles at the same time! Chicken pox, fifths disease, flu, and 7yooth abcesses and fought them all with fevers and recoveted quite normally…BUT 5yrs ago I had a double mastectomy for breast cancer….?????

  2. Meagan says:

    I’ve done A LOT of research on fevers, and all I can say is that it pays to let your kid have one. Yes they’re going to be uncomfortable and grumpy, but dealing with that now beats dealing with the problems they can face later on down the road from the effects of fever reducers and/or antibiotics. God designed our bodies to heal themselves, and a fever is the #1 way it starts the process with most bacterial or viral infections. If we keep shoving fever reducers into our kids, it’s like we’re telling them that we know better than their body knows. Is there a possibility that one day their body will stop reacting the way it was designed to react because we’ve stepped in and taken over so much that it hasn’t needed to do it on it’s own? Maybe. That’s a scary thought. I for one am not going to stress out over a fever. I am going to pay close attention and be proactive in my child’s health though.

    • Heather says:

      Dr. Cowan, whom I quoted in the article, once said something to the effect that fevers never cause harm. Sometimes an illness results in damage or death, but the fever is not at fault. It is the infection that caused harm and the fever was not able to correct things thoroughly enough.

      I found that to be a really interesting statement.

      • Meagan says:

        Yeah, from my understanding that’s right. Your body isn’t going to self-sabotage itself and let body temperature continue to rise. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature. It tells the body to heat up enough to kill the bacteria or virus, then tells the body to cool down when the threat is gone. From the things I’ve researched, I’ve only seen that temperature kills you when you’re body is overheated from the sun/warm environments (like kids trapped in a car) or when something damages the brain… like in the case of certain viruses or poisons/toxins.

        High fevers can be scary… especially when it comes to kids. You worry about febrile seizures when they go up too quickly and it shocks the brain for a bit… you worry about hearing loss… you just plain worry. It’s a little child. I think the best thing we as parents can do is to educate ourselves, trust the body, and know what number we’re not comfortable with. If the fever reaches that number, then it’s time to start implementing natural measures to bring it down to a more comfortable level.

        • Mindy W says:

          So, are y’all saying a fever in itself won’t cause harm? I get so much conflicting information on this issue and am still confused. If they body has a seizure because of a fever, can that be damaging? And what did you mean by “hearing loss”? Is that a concern with high fevers? And how high is too high? And at what age? Thankfully my littles have never had any damage, but every time that fever spikes (and in my kids it tends to REALLY spike…which btw, is that a trait of an effective/healthy immune system??) I get a little nervous and am tempted to reach for the Tylenol (don’t worry I RARELY do!) SO, is there reason to be concerned with high fevers or not?!? Help!

    • Tara says:

      Interesting speculation Megan. It seems possible, much like repeated use of laxatives can cause the body to stop moving bowels naturally, or repeated use of lip balm can cause the body to stop producing natural moisturizers.

  3. Margo says:

    Wow. Its always interesting to hear what you find in your research. Just last weekend both my kiddies (2.5 yrs & 6 mo old) had fevers. I’ve learned enough to know not to give fever reducers. There are other things I do to help keep thm comfortable but we let the fever do its job. Anytime I mention to someone “my kiddo has a fever”, first thing they say is – have you given them Tylenol (or something like that). It can be difficult to do but letting the body do its job is best! Thanks heather for another insightful post.

  4. Rebecca Miller says:

    I LOVe your genius!!! This article is amazing. Thank you sosososo much!!! It makes such perfect sense. We traded one set of illnesses for another. I can’t wait to read this article to my husband he will love it!

  5. Katie @ Girl Meets Nourishment says:

    Thank you for this! I have always wondered about the not-so-good side effects of pain relievers. I had crippling back pain for the last part of the year or so. I was so adamant to not use these pills and I really appreciate the natural alternatives!

    – Katie

  6. Betsy T says:

    Another spot-on post! Genius!!!!!

  7. Mel says:

    That’s pretty crazy! But it does make sense. When our body has the right resources it’s MADE to heal itself (if that weren’t the case, why would we have immune systems?)

    So random question: what does it mean if you DON’T get fevers anymore? One of the last fevers I had was really high, and ever since that, no “real” fevers. I even had a pretty severe kidney infection and no fever – not even a tiny bit. Even medical professionals couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have one. Just curious if anyone has heard of that :)

    • Heather says:

      Hi Mel! I RARELY have fevers now that I’m an adult. I think I’ve had maybe one to two high fevers in the last five years. Childhood seems to be where our immune systems do most of the maturation through fevers.

      With that said, in my opinion as a non-medical professional, I think it can also sometimes be a result of a compromised immune system. (more on that here)

  8. Sarah says:

    Wow! This is incredible! A fever always sounds like a scary thing, but this is never talked about anymore. Another reason not to vaccinate. Although I have received just about every vaccine under the sun. Thankfully, I have not had a single vaccine since the fall of 2007. I will not be getting another one!

  9. Kerry says:

    What about in the cases of kids who get febrile seizures? This is tricky for our family. We rarely treated fevers in our daughter, letting all but the highest fevers run their course, until she had a really scary febrile seizure at 2 1/2. She stopped breathing and turned blue, only for a minute or so, but it was awful. Her pediatrician advised us to treat for every single fever with meds (of course), and this has become a tough choice for us. I keep trying to let her fevers go, but once they start to really spike I give her ibuprofen… I’m just too scared that she’ll have another seizure. I’m hoping that once she hits an age when we can stop worrying about the seizures, we can stop treating every fever.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Kerry! Please forgive the obnoxious disclaimer here, but I am not a medical professional and am not qualified to give medical advice. However, as a parent I have found this resource to be helpful. You may want to discuss with your doctor.

      “Most children with fever suffer only minor discomfort, however 1 in 30 will have a febrile convulsion at one time or another. This usually happens between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Febrile convulsions are not harmful to your child and do not cause brain damage. They are, however, quite upsetting to parents to witness.

      Most children with febrile convulsions only ever have one fit. Some children will have one or more seizures, usually during illnesses which cause a fever. There is no increased risk of epilepsy in children who have febrile convulsions.” Febrile Seizures: Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

      • Ashley H says:

        I read on The Healthy Home Economist site about her “do nothing” approach to illness that you can give kids diluted fruit juice to keep their blood sugar up to prevent febrile seizures during higher fevers.

        This is fascinating information. And man, Hippocrates really nailed it in so many cases. I’m glad to learn this when my son is young so I can let him have fevers!

    • Rose says:

      My chiropractor recommends germanium supplements just a thought hope it helps:)

    • Meagan says:

      Kerry… if you don’t mind me asking, what was her temperature when she had the febrile seizure? From my understanding, febrile seizures occur when a fever goes up too quickly and the child’s immature brain can’t adjust quick enough… which is why they outgrow it. It’s not based on how high the temp is… at least from a lot of medical sites I’ve read.

      • Heather says:

        It actually happens when temperatures rise or fall too quickly, which is one of the problems with fever reducers. Sometimes they drop a fever so fast it induces a seizure. According to the experts they’re not harmful, but they are scary for parents.

    • Kate says:

      The Holistic Baby Guide by Randal Neustaedter, OMD, is a great resource for learning about how to treat fevers with homeopathic or chinese medicine. When my son had a sudden high, high fever we took his recommendation for the homeopathic medicine Belladonna (can be found at most health food stores) and it really helped.

  10. Jodi Strassheim says:

    Thanks SO MUCH for this article! I especially appreciate all the research. I’m with Kerry…my 2.5 year old had a seizure in January, with the same thing….lips blue, not breathing (although she was….just shallow) and we thought she was dying. We typically don’t treat fevers in this house, but that sure scared us. We are still trying to not treat the fever, and are learning to try the natural approaches for lowering a fever or at least making our kids more comfortable during one. Keep sending these articles, so we can post and share with others too!

  11. Kathy says:

    In reading the article and all the comments I’m left wondering what exactly is considered a high fever?

    • Meagan says:

      Kathy… I think a high fever would be different for everyone. When my kids get sick they usually have fevers around 102. So for us that’s not high. 104 and up would be high for us, and it would depend on how the child was acting as to what course of action we took. I think if a fever started climbing to a level where I was uncomfortable in my young child, I’d start natural treatments to bring it down to a more comfortable level. You don’t want to drop the fever entirely… which is what meds do, but bringing it down some isn’t a bad thing.

  12. Leah says:

    Great article! We need a big shift in the way that we think about fevers!

    In the sencond paragraph, you said, “Measles is now managed with steroids” but I think you mean “nephrotic syndrome is now managed by steroids”, right?

    I think in the 50’s measles was also observed to shrink and eliminate tumor forming cancers but the research was abandoned after the vaccine was introduced. I think that they are now developing an engineered measles virus to treat tumor forming cancers, I can’t remember where I read that though. I wish I could have had the measles!

  13. Lisa C says:

    This is so interesting. I had kidney failure when I was five and a half, but I mostly recovered from it. Ever since, though, I’ve had what I guess could be described as a mild case of nephrotic syndrome, which I’ve been working hard over the last two years to try and cure. Makes me wish I had had measles as a kid! But I am super intrigued by the fever thing. I wonder if I came down with a bad fever if it would help??

    I’ve heard of measles putting cancer into remission as well, so now I’m wondering if it was the fever part of it. My dad died of cancer at a young age, so I have like a hyper interest in preventing it.

    I’ve not vaxxed my kid against measles yet. I’ve read so many things that makes it seem like it’s actually a beneficial illness to have. But it’s also kind of scary because you never see it anymore and allopathic treatments are dangerous, so it’s really hard to predict what would happen should my son get it, and how do I know he’s getting the right treatment for it? As it is, it seems his chances of ever being exposed are pretty slim, anyway.

  14. Nicki says:

    I am also curious about how many days to let a fever go. I read the I info on WAP website about fevers as well a few other sites and they mostly mention not letting it go beyond 3 days. curious what should happen after 3 days? our 2 yo hit day 4 at 103 degrees with croup and we finally reduced bc she wasn’t sleeping and she began to have some delirium. but did we prolong this illness bc of that? going into week 3 with coughs still lingering in both 2 to and 2 month old.

  15. Anita DiNovo says:

    Very interesting and insightful, as usual! My daughter, who had all-over-body eczema, would always completely clear up anytime she had a fever, with it only to return when the fever went away. She is now 5 and has occasional patches, but it always blew my mind when she got a fever and her eczema completely vanished! My only question is what do you do about pain? I have mostly avoided fever reducers and my kids are unvaccinated, but I have given fever-reducers a couple of times in the case where they were in severe pain….like a double middle ear infection. This way, I could use herbals and avoid antibiotics, but also alleviate the pain. Is there any alternatives to help with pain without using a fever reducer? What about good ol-fashioned aspirin?

  16. Morgan says:

    I have a one year old and a 3 year old who just got over their fevers yesterday. Not a single symptom until the fever broke. Now they both have a bit of a cough and slightly runny nose. I found it so fascinating to see how they fought it. My older son would be playing and singing while his temp was anywhere between 101-102. Above 102 he’d get pretty lethargic and lay down. It reminded me of the billowing of a fire. He’d have big burst of heat, then he’d cool down for awhile (where he would then play, eat, and drink), and then have another round of a higher temp.

    I found the study you linked regarding high doses of vitamin A a bit confusing. So the mortality rate is only reduced for children two and under?

  17. Julia says:

    Great Article as always Heather! My now 1 year old son had an incredibly high fever when he was about 8 months old. It was so very scary but he was over it within a couple days. He slept on my chest and breastfed the entire time. I read your posts on my phone while I snuggled his hot little body and it was so reassuring to know I was doing the right thing allowing him to fight the infection on his own.

  18. lara says:

    Hi There

    I love this article but do you mind if I ask you a few questions. Is there ever a point ie a certain temp you would consider reducing a fever. Also what about natural methods to reduce fevers. My little 4 year old had very high temp but by putting her in a room temp bath I could bring her fever down enough to let her sleep for a few hours before it spiked again. This seems to work for the 24 hours of fevers plus sucking on ice cubes. This is not recommended too as it also brings the fever down?

  19. says:

    This is a great post that I am going to share on my facebook page. There is also a lot of excitement about helminth therapy for autoimmune disease — in line with the Hygiene hypothesis.

  20. Michelle says:

    Heather, thank you for this most informative post. It did put my mind at ease a bit while I’m still awake keeping a close watch on my 9 month old who has her third fever within the past ten days. My 6 & 4 yr olds had a fever/stomach flu which started two weeks ago. I have never experienced such a long, drawn out virus. My son was vomiting/diarhera that he became dehydrated & was admitted to the hospital. Have you experienced a fever revisiting within a short period like this? I know it’s a virus, I just feel I don’t know what my next step should be to put a stop to it.
    I’m committed to making a lot of lifestyle changes in the way I shop & what our family eats. It’s overwhelming at times. I did not have my children vaccinated, ever, but after experiencing this ugly flu bug for so long, I’m second guessing myself.
    I really appreciate your blog- & your mission. Hope this makes sense, I have quite a bit of sleep to catch up on! Thank you

    • Heather says:

      Hi Michelle, I have not experienced that particular scenario. So sorry I cannot offer more thoughts, but since I am not a healthcare provider that’s about all I can say about specific situations :)

  21. Sarah says:

    Have you ever read anything while researching that would point to high fevers causing damage to teeth in small children? My mother has been told by her mother all her life that her teeth are very weak due to a high fever when she was little. Although she was given high fructose corn syrup in her bottles also (EEEkkkkk!). My thoughts lean more towards nutrition than the fact that she had a high fever, I’ve done a little searching online but haven’t actually found any good information on the matter. It would interesting to see if you had sources on the subject that I could read. And as always, another great post! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your posts!

    • Heather says:

      From what I understand, the body needs calcium lactate to make a fever effective. If not enough is present in the body, it will pull from the bones. I had a very high fever last year, and when it was over my teeth actually hurt because so much calcium had been pulled. I usually drink lots of bone broth during an illness – which probably would have prevented the tooth thing- but we were in the middle of an interstate move and I didn’t have acces.

  22. Alison @ Alison's List says:

    This reminds me of a radio program I heard on infecting oneself with some kind of parasite (one of the worms, can’t remember details now) to cure allergies. I’ve known for a while now that fevers can be beneficial, but this is definitely new information for me. Thanks for sharing.

  23. The Natural Singer says:

    Really excellent article that was thoroughly researched but succinct and thought-provoking. Thank you for your work.

  24. Rebekah says:

    I wish I had known more about vaccinations when I had the first of my three kids. I just did what my doctor recommended. I could kick myself for it now!

    The one thing I have to say is that there is some correlation between a lot of high fevers in young children and poor tooth enamel. My oldest daughter (9) has had some cavities filled b/c the enamel on her teeth isn’t as strong as it should be. The dentist told me it is due to many high fevers as a young child while the teeth were still forming!

    • Heather says:

      From what I understand, this might be because the body needs calcium to manage a fever. If an ample supply is not available I believe the body will pull it from the bones. After a particularly high fever a few years ago my teeth actually hurts as a result of this process. Normally I drink a lot of broth during illness to supply my body with calcium to use, but we were in the middle of an interstate move and I didn’t have it available.

  25. Gina says:

    When my son was two years old, he came down with 105 fever that wouldn’t drop. We finally took him into the doctor after two or three days (not sure exactly, this was about eight years ago). After the fever broke, his joins hurt him so badly he couldn’t stand; he crawled on his knees for quite a few days. Afterward, I researched more and found out it could have been scarlet fever or rheumatic fever he had. Now I fear that he has damage to his eyes or heart. Have you heard what to do for high fever in these cases?

  26. Troy says:

    Great Article. Definitely interesting reading. My wife always wants to bring the temps of our kids down at the first sign of fever. I will let the next one run and see what happens. Its funny how everything old is new again and everything new seems to be not helping us the way we think it will.

  27. Natural Remedies For Ear Infections « The Mommypotamus says:

    […] According to Dr. Michael Gerber, “Vitamin A deficiency disrupts the clearing mechanism of the ear.” Adequate levels of Vitamin A have also been found to diminish serious complications in other infectious diseases, such as measles. (source) […]

  28. Nurse says:

    Articles like this are very upsetting. As an ICU nurse I have seen multiple cases where fever caused severe brain damage. Normally the hypothalamus regulates body temperature but that does not mean it will never malfunction. The hypothalamus can mistakenly reset itself to think that an elevated body temperature is the new normal. This can lead to damage of brain tissue THAT WILL NOT RETURN! It’s easy to research different topics and focus on the material that agrees with your point. But, there’s needs to be a balanced approach. Sacrificing your children’s health is Not part of a balanced approach. A temperature of 103 or 104 can be managed at home with NSAIDS, but once the fever hits 105, head to the hospital. I have never seen anyone recover from a temperature of 108, NEVER.

  29. Jaime says:

    Hi Heather! I’m new to this blog and like the info you provide! Just wondering, what have you vaccinated your kids with? I love this article and will be using this from now on.

  30. Natural IS Better, Even When Dealing with Illness | Pagan at Heart says:

    […] Are Fever Reducers Fueling the Cancer Epidemic? […]

  31. Should Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Be Prosecuted? | The Mommypotamus | organic SAHM sharing her family stories and recipes says:

    […] fear are actually beneficial. Measles – which has a lower fatality rate than the flu – may be PROTECTIVE against other more dangerous diseases, like CANCER. The same is true with mumps.(source 1, source […]

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    […] I’m sure the concentration is really low I try to avoid fever reducers if at all possible. Fevers have a purpose, even when they’re from teething! Low-grade fevers commonly associated with teething usually […]

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