What I can't help wondering, however, is why these children, and why now? For millenia children have been growing up on farms, having far more contact with animals, far less concern for hygiene, and no antibacterial soaps. Have we bred a super strain of bacteria that our human bodies cannot handle? Or have we bred a weakened strain of humans, unable to respond effectively when exposed to normal germs? Are we too clean to be healthy?
When I consider this problem, ever present in my mind is a picture of a farm family I visited recently in Pennsylvania, a handful of boisterous, happy children tumbling in from outside, covered in farm dirt, drinking unpasteurized milk, and incorrigibly healthy.Cleanliness is important, certainly, and simple hygiene goes further than anything else in the fight against disease. Nonetheless, I wonder if modern, "complex hygiene" is more of a problem than a solution. Could it be that our hospital birthed, antiseptically washed, indoor raised, well protected children are more vulnerable than their country cousins?