How can we reconcile the Bhagavatam description that worms bite the infant in the womb with the scientific knowledge that there are not even bacteria in the amniotic fluid?
In the 3rd canto it is mentioned that the unborn baby is bitten by worm in the womb due to which it falls unconscious repeatedly. Amniotic fluid is sterile- this is well known in medicine- leave alone worms, there arent even bacteria or viruses in the womb. How to understand the contradiction?
(I gratefully acknowledge the help of H G Drutakarma Prabhu, one of ISKCON’s foremost scientists, who liberally shared his research and insights)
References for the answer:
1. On page 371 of the book Diagnostic Pathology of Parasitic Infections with Clinical Correlations, 2nd edition, by Dr. Y. Guiterez, Oxford Univ. Press, 2000, there is an account of an infant delivered by Caeserean section who had worms, including a 30 cm tapeworm (Ascaridia) , in its intestine. Even in the womb, the infant was infected not by microorganism parasites, but by large worms. The textbook said that worms are often found in unexpected places.
2. “Toxoplasma gondii is a microscopic protozoa that causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. . . . The parasites remain in the body as tissue cysts (bradyzoites) and reactivate, if the person becomes immunosuppressed by other diseases or by immunosuppressive drugs. . . .
If a woman is pregnant and becomes infected with toxoplasmosis during or right before pregnancy, she can transmit the disease to her unborn child (congenital transmission). The earlier the transmission occurs the bigger the effects. Then again, the longer the pregnancy goes on, the more likely is the infection going to occur. This has something got to do with the penetrability of the placenta. Symptoms might include: miscarriage or stillborn baby, or baby born with signs of toxoplasmosis (for example, abnormal enlargement or smallness of the head) or baby with brain or eye damage.”
3. Acta Tropica (Volume 121, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 55–70),
Congenital parasitic infections: A review
– Yves Carliera, Carine Truyensa, Philippe Deloronc, François Peyrond,
“This review defines the concepts of maternal–fetal (congenital) and vertical transmissions (mother-to-child) of pathogens and specifies the human parasites susceptible to be congenitally transferred. It highlights the epidemiological features of this transmission mode for the three main congenitalparasiticinfections due to Toxoplasma gondii, Trypanosoma cruzi and Plasmodium sp. Information on the possible maternal–fetal routes of transmission, the placental responses to infection and timing of parasite transmission are synthesized and compared.”