No it’s not back “big time” just now. But you have cause to worry. Allow me to explain and share with you the history and some fascinating facts about polio…
Officials are fudging it and refuse to use the “p-word” but a condition clinically indistinguishable from polio has arisen in California. They call it acute flaccid myelitis. Translation: sudden onset paralysis, caused by inflammation of the spinal cord (which is what polio does).
Fifty-nine cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been identified in California in the past 3 years. Most cases (50 of 59) occurred in children and young adults, very typical of polio. But 2 patients—both immunocompromised adults—died within 60 days of symptom onset.
Experts involved have decided the likely cause is a virus, but there could be more than one. Again, the p-word is omitted (old scientific principle: it can’t be, therefore it isn’t). What is being withheld is whether or not these patients had been vaccinated for polio. Standard practice suggests they almost certainly were.
You long-time subscribers who have travelled along with me over the years will know it’s one of my maxims that “life will find a way”. Living organisms, even half-living ones like viruses, will adapt and think their way round survival problems, including medical hostility to their existence!
Sooner or later organisms “controlled” by medications or vaccines are going to mutate and escape control. This could be what has happened. But unless researchers widen their view to include this possibility they are not going to find it, because “it couldn’t be” a resurgence of polio, could it?
What we do know is: researchers identified enterovirus D68 species in samples from 15 of 45 patients tested. Polio is among the enterovirus group.
So even if it’s not exactly the same immuno-type, it’s a cousin of the polio virus. Or an evolved strain of the virus. The D68 strain surged from August 2014 through January 2015, at which time the number of cases of immune flaccid paralysis also surged.
The clinical and lab features of the new outbreak are similar to those of poliomyelitis, showing an inflammatory response, a rise in cellular content of cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid surrounding and supporting brain and spinal cord) and evidence of an enterovirus invasion in throat, stool and blood. No enterovirus was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of any of the reported cases. It is known that poliovirus in the CSF is very rare.
Clinicians throughout the USA have been warned to stay alert for this “new” disease.
Among 45 patients with follow-up data so far, 38 experienced persistent weakness at a median follow-up of 9 months.
I’ll let the researchers have their say:
“The etiology of acute flaccid myelitis cases in our series remains undetermined. Although the syndrome described is largely indistinguishable from poliomyelitis on clinical grounds, epidemiological and laboratory studies have effectively excluded poliovirus as an etiology.”1
I would certainly endorse their caution: “…ongoing surveillance efforts are needed to understand the full and potentially evolving levels of infectious agent-associated morbidity and mortality.” Time will tell if this is a variant of the old adversary. However you can be sure that Big Pharma wants the truth kept from the public if it is!
A Note About The Vaccine
There is no question that polio was a worldwide tragedy in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. As a kid growing up in the 1950s I knew many other children walking around with leg braces, or with lower limbs paralyzed altogether, and only able to be moved around in a wheelchair.
Later, when hospitalized as a teen, I shared a ward with victims in the dreaded “iron lung”. They had no future without the machine to inflate their lungs. Slowly, one by one, they died of complications of their very unnatural way of life.
If you don’t know what this hideous machine looked like, this is it:
To work properly, there needs to be an airtight seal around the neck. Can you imagine?
Polio was rightly a great fear for parents but the disease gained prominence when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected US President. He contracted it at the age of 39. Roosevelt was careful to be filmed and photographed without showing his wheelchair, as much as possible.
Now for those of you who don’t believe in vaccines, hear this: the incidence of polio has dropped from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 359 in 2014 since the launch of global polio eradication efforts in 1988. That’s a fall of over 99% in just 26 years.
This cannot be passed off as better food and better hygiene.
[Please don’t write and tell me about the book The Monkey and The Vaccine by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher. I have it on my shelves.]
On March 27, 2014, Dr. Frieden and senior CDC immunization staff were present when India, along with the other 10 countries of the South East Asia Region, was certified polio-free. Four of the six regions of the World Health Organization have now been certified polio-free: the Americas (1994), Western Pacific (2000), Europe (2002) and South East Asia (2014). 80% of the world’s people now live in polio-free areas.
But polio has not gone away. In May 2014, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern due to unforeseen outbreaks of the disease in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
It is therefore imperative that we make a final push toward eradication one of our highest priorities. As Dr. Frieden has stated, “If we fail to get over the finish line, we will need to continue expensive control measures for the indefinite future…More importantly, without eradication, a resurgence of polio could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year within a decade.”
So it is absolutely vital we get rid of ALL cases. Just one surviving virus pool could unravel the whole safety triumph.
Conversely, if we pull this one off, we may be looking at a new era in which yet another disease has vanished from the planet (smallpox was the first).
That makes the new strange disease in California a little unsettling, don’t you think? What if it is the “new polio”? Only time will tell.
Facts About Polio – A Fascinating Disease
Poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the known poliovirus. Paralysis is rare (which is no comfort if it happened to you) and can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm.
Most patients fully recover but, in cases which have progressed to muscle weakness, 2 – 5% of children and 15 – 30% of adults die. In up to 70% of infections there are no symptoms at all.
Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with the slow development of a permanent muscle weakness similar to what the person had during the initial infection.
The disease seems to be preventable with the oral polio vaccine; however, a number of doses are required for it to be effective. That’s a worry.
Poliomyelitis has existed for thousands of years, with depictions of the disease in ancient art. For example the cripple portrayed in Masaccio’s St Peter “Healing the Sick with His Shadow” (15th century) is probably a case.2
The disease was first recognized as a distinct condition by brilliant English surgeon and physician Michael Underwood in 1789. Karl Landsteiner isolated the virus that causes it in 1908.
In the 20th century it became one of the most worrying childhood diseases in the Western world (USA and Europe). The first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s by Jonas Salk. This was later supplanted by the Sabin oral vaccine.3
The oral vaccine costs about 25 cents per dose ($0.25); the inactivated Salk vaccine costs $25-$50 per dose. Guess which is pushed here? Right, the CDC “recommends” only the inactivated form.
But their blatant chauvinism and racketeering may have misfired, if a new strain of polio has “escaped”, as I believe is possible.
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