“If you get polio you will be paralyzed.”
Someone said this to me tonight. This isn’t an ignorant person and they weren’t trying to convince me that this statement is true. As with most people we have been convinced of 2 things: (1) that polio was miraculously cured by a vaccine, and (2) before the vaccine, polio was a horrible epidemic of nature that nearly always meant paralyzation. This (along with smallpox) is often touted as the star attraction in the Hall of Fame of Why Vaccines Are Your Friends. So, is it true? If we stop vaccinating against polio will children once again be in iron lungs and leg braces?
Let’s look at both premises on which we base our fear of Polio.
(1) Polio was miraculously cured by a vaccine.
The chart on the left shows the CDC’s information on the Polio Disease and Vaccination from the CDC Pink Book on Vaccine Preventable Diseases. As you can see from this chart the vaccine has saved us! Look at all those cases! Look how modern medicine erradicated this terrible epidemic from the American Landscape!
Excuse me while I barf.
(You will really be sick if you click on the link above and read that 95% of polio cases since 1980 were categorized as VAPP – Vaccine Associated Paralytic Polio. This was with the Oral Polio Vaccine that my mother’s generation were given in school. Now we use Inactivated Polio Vaccine which is an injection. But remember, vaccines are safe. But I digress.)
Is the CDC giving us the whole picture? Let’s look at where polio was before 1950 since we can assume it didn’t appear out of thin air on January 1, 1950.
The above graph lets us look back to 1912. As you can see, the disease had two peaks one in 1916 and another between 1945 and 1955. This graph certainly shows that the disease rate went down after the vaccine but what had made it go up so much in the years prior to the vaccine? Hmmm…doesn’t that coincide in some way with WWI and WWII? What else was going on that would bring on disease?
Strangely enough, Biskind pointed out that what this study confirms (Physiological Investigations Into The Action Of DDT, G.W. Van Der Wiel & Co., Arnhem 1949): that DDT poisoning often causes polio-like physiology. Coincidence? What happened in 1983 when DDT was once again allowed in US use? – click on the chart to enlarge.
Major increase in polio cases in what is called the “post-polio” era since this epidemic in the 80s occurred in previous polio patients who should have been “immune” but were re-infected due to environmental exposure. So, did the polio vaccine result in the dramatic recovery from the 1945 polio epidemic? Or, was that the phase out of harmful pesticides like DDT?
(2) Polio was a horrible epidemic of nature
This brings us to point #2. One doctor, Dr. Morton Biskind postulated in the 50s that the increase in “polio-like” illnesses were due to DDT poisoning and not the polio virus (virus X). A virus of course can not be caused by an environmental substance (contrary to what your mother told you – you can NOT get a cold (virus) from not wearing a hat!). If all the polio cases were caused by the polio virus then DDT couldn’t be causing it. However, people were rarely tested for the polio virus because only virus-polio would be covered financially so cases were diagnosed by symptoms (clinical diagnosis) and not lab diagnosis. It is probable that President Roosevelt did not have polio but an immune disorder called Guillain-Barre (a notorious vaccine side effect). Historically, the polio virus was very benign dating back to ancient Egypt. The 20th century brought the first ever epidemics of the disease.
But, the mortality rate of polio is atrocious, right? According to the CDC Pink Book more than 95% of all polio cases are asymptotic – you wouldn’t even know you have it. 4-8% have general flu-like symptoms that last one week with complete recovery. 1-2% experience neck and back stiffness and recover completely in 7-10 days. Less than 1% experience asymmetrical paralysis lasting days to weeks with full recovery. Of this 1% most make a full recovery, some will remain paralyzed and 2-5% will die. That’s 2-5% of the 1% that have paralytic polio and do not recover fully. This means that 99.5% of all people with viral polio will make a full recovery, with 95% being asymptotic. Hardly “polio paralyzes you.” And remember these numbers are based on historical morbidity and mortality which includes the high incidence epidemics of the 20th century that may not have been viral polio at all but similar symptoms caused by pesticide poisoning.
The graphs used so far are pulled from a very detailed explanation on this site. If you want more information please check it out. I haven’t even touched on the effects of contamination involving a monkey virus called SV40 that infected polio vaccines. Read about it here.
The CDC recommends the first polio vaccine for this horrible, deadly disease for infants of only 8 weeks old. It contains 3 types of ‘inactivated’ polio viruses, neomycin, streptomycin, and polymyxin B, formaldehyde, and 2-phenoxyethanol, and a continuous line of monkey kidney cells. Side effects, as reported by the manufacturer include:
Erythema,induration and pain occurred in 3.2%, 1% and 13%, respectively, of vaccinees within 48 hours post-vaccination. Temperatures of ≥ 39°C (≥ 102°F) were reported in 38% of vaccinees. Other symptoms included irritability, sleepiness, fussiness, and crying … Although no causal relationship has been established, deaths have occurred in temporal association after vaccination of infants with IPV.37