Polio: The Disease, the Vaccine and the Controversies
Drawing by Andrew Dyson
When my first child was born and the family had discovered that we were not going to vaccinate her, our very pro-vaccine aunty became very vocal about it, saying that parents like us only chose not to vaccinate because we were of the younger generation that couldn’t remember polio and all those horrific iron lungs.
As a mother, I prefer to base my decisions on knowledge rather than fear, so here I will present the disease, the vaccine and some of the controversies surrounding it.
There are several different types of polio and all types are caused by a virus. The different types are:
Asymptomatic Polio: This is the most common type and accounts for 95% of all cases. A person shows no symptoms whatsoever and doesn’t even know they have polio.
Abortive Polio: This is the second commonest form of polio, which is very mild. The person would think they had flu as the symptoms are the same, such as fever, sore throat, upper respiratory infection and feeling sick.
Non-Paralytic Polio: This is more serious. Symptoms include neurological complications such as sensitivity to light and a stiff neck. This type is sometimes called aseptic meningitis.
Paralytic Polio: This is the rarest type of polio. It is the type that doctors talk about to persuade you to vaccinate, yet it only affects 0.1% to 2% of cases of polio. There is more than one strain of paralytic polio. One is called Spinal polio and affects the nerves in the spinal cord, which may paralyse the arms and legs and arrest the breathing by paralysing the respiratory system. There is another strain called Bulbar Polio. This is where the motor neurons of the brain stem are affected and this paralyses the facial muscles and affects speaking and breathing. Sometimes there may be heart failure due to messages from the brain failing to tell the heart to pump correctly.
The worst form of polio is called Bulbospinal Polio and is a combination of spinal and bulbar polio. According to the CDC, this form of polio affects 19% of the 2% affected by paralytic polio. (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/polio.pdf).
Even the Health Protection Agency in the UK, say in their polio leaflet:
‘Polio is caused by a virus which may not cause any symptoms, especially in children under 5 years. There may be a ‘flu-like’ illness which occasionally goes on to produce a more serious illness including muscle paralysis.’
Yet it’s babies under 5 years who are routinely vaccinated, when they are at the lowest risk of developing paralysis.
What About The Polio Epidemic?
It is undisputable that in the 1940’s and 50’s, many people had paralytic polio and many died, but was it always like this? The Health Protection Agency has records of paralytic polio cases from the year 1912. That year, there were 839 cases of paralytic polio and NO deaths. Figures for subsequent years stayed stable, ranging from 228 cases to about 800 or 900 cases a year.
Then suddenly in the year 1947, cases dramatically jumped from 600 to 7095, with 688 deaths, and the case rate stayed in the thousands for several years afterwards. (http://www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733748735?p=1203409658607 ).
What was making polio more serious than it had been? The sudden jump would suggest an environmental cause.
Polio, Pesticides And The ‘Immunisation’ Programme
In the 1940’s, pesticides were introduced into farming, including the later banned DDT pesticide, and mass vaccination was begun with diphtheria anti-toxin, which up until that time had not been in widespread use.
Dr. Biskind, who wrote in a 1953 edition of The American Journal of Digestive Diseases, thought that the upsurge of polio was caused by industry introducing more and more poisons into people’s lives.
‘Central nervous system diseases (CNS) such as polio are actually the physiological and symptomatic manifestations of the ongoing government- and industry-sponsored inundation of the world's populace with central nervous system poisons.
It was even known by 1945 that DDT is stored in the body fat of mammals and appears in the milk. With this foreknowledge the series of catastrophic events that followed the most intensive campaign of mass poisoning in known human history, should not have surprised the experts.’
(Morton S. Biskind, MD. Public Health Aspects of the New Insecticides. American Journal of Digestive Diseases, New York, 1953, v 20, p331.).
Pesticide usage and incidence of polio mirrored each other.
Usage of chemicals in vaccines have also been linked with polio. Dr. Geffen in London reported 30 children who had been vaccinated with diphtheria and whooping cough vaccines and went on to develop polio within 4 weeks of vaccination.
‘'The paralysis affecting, in particular, the limb of injection.’
(Bradford Hill, A., Knoweldon, J. 1950. "Inoculation and Poliomyelitis". BMJ, July 1st, pp 1-6.).
By 1950, the UK Department of Health advised that vaccines were NOT used in areas where there was polio, because of the risk of them triggering polio.
It was reported that of 112 cases of paralysis admitted to the Park Hospital, London, during 1947-1949, 14 were paralyzed in the limb which had received one or more of a course of immunizing injections within the previous two months. In the majority of cases, the interval between the last injection and the onset of paralysis was between 9 and 14 days. Again, combined whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus injections were involved. This outbreak of polio followed an intensive immunization campaign during that time, 1947-49. Following these findings, the Ministry of Health recommended that diphtheria and triple vaccines should not be used in areas where polio was naturally present. From that time onwards, the incidence of paralytic polio decreased rapidly in Britain, even prior to the advent of Salk vaccination..." (Reported in the July 29th edition of the BMJ, 1950).
One man, Kevin, told of his experience after he contracted polio from the vaccine in the 1950's, in an article he entitled 'Suffer the Little Children'. He said
"I've always blamed the injections I had at school in the year that I ended up in an iron lung in Ballarat's Base Hospital. So did my parents. Now I know this to be true and it's all there in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Recently I stumbled on critical research published in The Lancet in April 1950 linking polio with whooping cough and diphtheria immunisation. In the weeks leading up to my personal D-Day in September 1951, I was immunised at Lexton State School in central Victoria against whooping cough and diphtheria as well as smallpox. And that was in the days when you were given a ''live'' virus.
In my case there was a problem with the first diphtheria shot and I was given a second injection, presumably for certainty. Some three weeks later, during the second round of diphtheria injections, the syringe and needle came apart and vaccine squirted into my face. Again I was given a second dose. I could hardly move my right arm the next day. When I contracted polio a few weeks later, it seemed no coincidence that the paralysis most severely affected my arms, my right one in particular. My left arm was (and still is) partly paralysed, my right arm totally.
Currently, the polio vaccination is part of the 5-in-1 vaccine, Pediacel.
Ingredients of Pediacel: diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, pertussis toxoid, filamentous haemagglutinin (the part of bordella pertussis that makes it infectious), fimbriae types 2 and 3 (this is a hair like structure which lives on the surface of a bacteria), pertactin (this is a membrane protein that is part of the pertussis bacteria and it helps the adhesion of the bacteria to the child’s epithelial cells throughout his body), 3 types of polio virus, Haemophilus influenzae type b polysaccharide, formaldehyde, cells from vero cell line from the African Green Monkey, aluminium phosphate, 2-phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 80. Neomycin, streptomycin and polymyxin B antibiotics may also be present in trace amounts.
Side-Effects Of The Vaccine: nervous system disorders, febrile convulsions, hypotonic hyporesponsive episode, gastrointestinal disorders, anorexia, nausea and vomiting, pain and swelling at the injection site, irritability, malaise, fever, high-pitched, inconsolable crying, extensive limb swelling, acute allergic reactions, dyspnoea, cyanosis, urticaria, angioneurotic oedema, hypotension, ,anaphylaxis , afebrile convulsions, pallor and somnolence.
(Reported in the manufacturer’s data sheet for Pediacel vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur MSD Limited, dated 4th September 2008).
Simian Virus 40 And Cancer
The polio vaccine is cultured using kidney tissue from monkeys. Any vaccine cultured in animal tissue runs the risk of passing animal diseases onto people and even altering people’s DNA. Trace amounts of cells from the culture end up in the vaccine, becoming one of the ingredients, as it is not possible to remove all of them during manufacture. The new Pediacel vaccine is still made using these monkey cells.
In 1960, Dr. Bernice Eddy from the National Institute of Health discovered that the polio vaccine could cause cancer when she injected it into hamsters and found that the hamsters grew tumours. Two senior doctors from the Merck vaccine company also replicated her findings.
They identified the cancer to have originated from Simian Virus 40, the 40th monkey virus to be discovered, and reported their findings at the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine:
‘Viruses are commonly carried by monkeys and may appear as contaminants in cell cultures of their tissues, especially the kidney . . . . The discovery of this new virus, the vacuolating agent, represents the detection for the first time of a hitherto “non-detectable” simian virus of monkey renal cultures and raises the important question of the existence of other such viruses . . . . As shown in this report, all 3 types of Sabin’s live poliovirus vaccine, now fed to millions of persons of all ages, were contaminated with vacuolating virus.’
(B.H. Sweet & M.R. Hilleman, The Vacuolating Virus, S.V.40, 105 Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 420, 420–27 (1960).
Even though a shocking 30% of all polio vaccines were thought to be contaminated with SV40, the government did not recall the vaccines. If one jar of baby food is shown to carry a health risk, the whole batch is removed amid a media frenzy. Not so for vaccines. They continued to knowingly inject tainted vaccines into millions of people for three years after SV40 was discovered. Then new regulations were put in place. The regulations allowed manufacturer’s to continue to use polio virus that had been cultured on monkey kidneys, but these cultures had to be mixed with other tissue and observed for two weeks to see if any tumours developed. If they didn’t develop within the two week period, the batch was declared ‘safe’.
(See www.sv40foundation.org for more details including numerous references).
In 1997, the TV documentary Dispatches aired an expose about SV40 and the polio vaccine, in which they revealed that SV40 cancers can be passed from the vaccine recipient to their children. 80% of bone cancers, 83% of choroid plexus brain tumours, 91% of ependymomas, 47% of astrocytomas and 33% of glioblastoma multiforme (more common brain tumours) are thought to be the direct result of SV40 originating from the polio vaccine.
Professor Tognon from Italy, tested semen samples of healthy men and found that eight out of 20 samples tested positive for SV40.
(See, ‘Simian Virus 40: A Possible Polyomavirus’, on the FDA website here: http://www.fda.gov/cber/minutes/sv40012797-1.htm#10 ).
Wasn’t Vaccination Responsible For The Decline Of Polio?
The majority of polio cases are mild. Evidence suggests that the polio epidemic of the 1940’s was caused by vaccination itself, and by exposure to pesticides. The diagnostic criteria for polio also changed, making many of the cases vanish just due to these changes. Dr. Bernard Greenburg, a Biostatistics expert, stated that prior to 1954, paralytic polio would be diagnosed if the patient was still exhibiting symptoms after 24 hours. In 1955, the doctor had to wait until 10-20 days after onset of the disease, with an additional examination 70 days later before he could class it as polio. This wiped out the majority of reported cases, making the vaccine seem really effective.
Paralysis which would have been recorded as polio prior to the vaccine, is now called by different names, like Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP). According to a WHO document, up to 2.4 of children per 100,000 get Guillain-Barre Syndrome. (http://www.epicentro.iss.it/problemi/polio/slide2.pdf ).
West Nile Virus also has symptoms which are clinically identical to polio, and is referred to in medical journals as ‘West Nile Poliomyelitis’.
‘We report a case of West Nile poliomyelitis with preserved deep-tendon reflexes, diminished sensory nerve action potentials, and pathologic findings An 83-year-old woman sought treatment at the hospital on September 12, 2002, with 3 days of fever, acute confusion, nausea, vomiting, and profound weakness. Her examination was notable for dysarthria, tremors, and global weakness with rightsided predominance. On the second hospital day, respiratory failure developed, requiring mechanical ventilation.’
(Holman RP, Monserrate NM, Czander EW, Rushing EJ. West Nile poliomyelitis. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 2004 Mar [date cited]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no3/03-0593_03-0887.htm )
So cases of polio haven’t really gone, they are just covered up.
Ways To Prevent Polio
1. Breast feed your baby, preferably for several years. Breast milk contains anti-polio properties. Dr. Albert Sabin, the inventor of the oral polio vaccine, infected mice with polio and then fed them the breast milk of 71 American women and he found that breast milk had an 84% success rate at neutralising polio. (Albert Sabin and Howard Fieldsteel, 'Anti-poliomyelitic Activity of Human and Bovine Colostrum and Milk', Journal of Pediatrics, 29 (1962).
2. Don’t vaccinate. Evidence suggests that polio is a poisoning disease. It is related to vaccination campaigns. The case rate of paralytic polio jumped from 600 in 1946 to 7095 in 1947. The first mass vaccination campaign was begun in the UK in 1947. The DOH was aware of this and stopped mass vaccination in polio endemic areas in 1950.
3. Polio has also risen and fallen, depending on the amount of pesticides used on our food. Eat only organic food and make sure your baby eats organic.
4. Avoid processed foods as they have a lot of chemicals and fillers in them.
5. Get rid of any chemical based cleaners in your home and only buy products with natural ingredients.
6. The homeopathic remedy Lathyrus Sativus is both an antidote to the polio virus and a preventative. According to a Dr. Grimmer, ‘ It has the same affinity to the same centres in the spinal cord and brain as the virus of poliomyelitis and is the most perfect antidote for both prevention and cure.’ (Homeopathy In Endemic Diseases, by Dr. Dorothy Shepherd, Health Science Press, 1967 – p.76). If you are particularly worried about this disease, you could give this remedy to your child to reduce his risk of getting it.
This article (text only) was written by Joanna Karpasea-Jones (except for Kevin's personal experiences with polio) and was originally published in The Mother Magazine.
'Suffer the Little Children' was written by Kevin Norbury and the accompanying illustration was drawn by Andrew Dyson, both for the The Age Australian newspaper.