The summer season has begun and I thought it fitting to share with you information from my files on polio. This “installment” will be on some of polio’s early history, namely beginning in the 1950’s. But, first, a little history from a 1985 nursing book: “First recognized in 1840, poliomyelitis became epidemic in Norway and Sweden in 1905… Incidence peaked during the 1940’s and early 1950’s, and led to the development of the Salk vaccine… The disease strikes most often during the summer and fall... Among children, it paralyzes boys most often; adults and girls are at greater risk of infection but not paralysis… Prognosis depends largely on the site affected.”
In a brochure entitled “Photoluminescence Therapy (Ultraviolet Light Therapy)” from the Alternative Healing Center in Syracuse, NY, the following information was interesting:
“Photoluminescence therapy was developed in the early 1920’s as a means of treating people afflicted with the polio virus. The process used a small quantity of an afflicted person’s blood which was exposed to ultraviolet light. In the 1950’s the Salk vaccine wiped out polio and as a result photoluminescence treatment was shelved… The process has once again been resurrected by the Foundation for Blood Irradiation, which had originally been founded in the 1940’s.
“This technique was applied extensively and with excellent results during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s for the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, such as Viral Infections: hepatitis, atypical pneumonia, polio, encephalitis, mumps, measles, mono, herpes; and Bacterial Infections: septicemia, pneumonia, peritonitis, typhoid fever, wound infections; and Severe damaging inflammatory processes such as bursitis, nephritis, iritis, uveitis, pancreatitis; and diseases due to inadequate peripheral circulation and other conditions."
(The Healing Center is no longer around. I understand that the NYS Health Dept. got after them, but you can google “blood irradiation” and see if you can find such practitioners. Unfortunately, I understand that traditional medicine frowns upon such.)
The February 10, 1956, issue of The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, stated “Salk Vaccine Reported 85 Per Cent Effective.”
“… in the next few months, before the onset of the 1956 polio season, the children who last year received their first two shots will get their third booster shot which will protect them for an indefinite period of years… Among the more than 880,000 who received one or more injections, there was not one case reported within 30 days of vaccination, the period during which polio, if it was to have been caused by the vaccine, might have turned up. Within the study group only five cases of paralytic polio were reported in 600,000 vaccinated children and all five came down with the disease at least two months after being inoculated.”
Prevention magazine of October, 1959, had a section on milk and meat that discussed its involvement with polio: “Polio is a summertime disease, which comes at a time when children are taking too much sweet sodas, and ice-cream, which is fearfully upsetting to their calcium and phosphorus blood balance. And the milk is pasteurized, thus inactivating much of its calcium… So, these children who ate little meat and who probably ran around a lot and perspired, lost much of their body’s salt. Their vegetable diet then caused an additional loss of salt in their blood, thus depleting it to the danger point… Instead of going at it from the wrong end, by vaccines, they (the March of Dimes) should begin to look for the things that produce the climate in the body that is preferred by the virus — the diet, the question of meat as a preventive, and the opposite effects of sugar and milk as a cause.”
December, 1959, Prevention magazine had an article “Vitamin E for Post-Polio Disorders”:
“Chronic polio patients often experience pains or numbness in their extremities similar to those which result from poor circulation.” The article discussed a Dr. Jacques from Canada who was working with some such patients and he gave his patients 800 I.U. of Vitamin E per day for “Conventional therapy was attempted, but to no avail.” The Vitamin E treatment was also helpful with some female polio patients who had menstruation difficulties because of the polio infection.
“Why not try vitamin E for hot flushes, painful or irregular menstruation, etc., before using drugs that are known to have severe side effects?”
“Nutrition as a Treatment for Polio Victims” was the article in the November, 1960 issue of Prevention magazine. The article discussed a Dr. George Boines of Virginia who told how he improved on the recovery rates of Sister Kenny, the Australian nurse, who promulgated a different attitude toward polio-paralyzed limbs (massage, whirlpool baths, etc). “Dr. Boines believes the problem raised in the body by polio is a disturbed nutritional absorption by the muscles and a loss of protein… A special effort must be made to insure sufficient protein intake… Added to Dr.Boines’s special interest in a sufficient supply of protein for the polio patient is his concern for the proper condition of the patient’s capillaries. This he insures by prescribing a daily dosage of 600 mg. of Vit. C and 600 mg. of hesperidin, a bioflavonoid, for each patient.”
The article quoted a C.W. Jungblat in the “1939 Proceedings of the 3rd International Congress on Microbiology” in NY. “… a study of the natural history of poliomyelitis suggests a vitamin C deficiency as one of the chief predisposing agencies.”
“If there is such a thing as sectional areas of polio epidemic in our cities and states, can’t it be that these poorer areas suffer, not from a lack of Salk vaccine, but a lack of vitamin C-rich foods and C supplements?”
“We have recently come upon some information indicating that tonsils and appendixes are important weapons against infection. We wonder how many polio victims have had their tonsils [or] appendixes removed and how much such an item may have to do with national polio incidence.”
That same 1960 issue had “The Slow Death of The Salk Vaccine.” This is an article that has much of the same insight and arguments against vaccines as has been going on for the last 40 years. It is interesting to read with the hindsight of recent history. Do you see a pattern?
“In the October 16, 1959, Public Health Service report on polio we find that of 3,389 paralytic cases whose vaccination records are known, 595 of paralytic polio were recorded among persons who had received three or more shots of Salk vaccine, another 302 had had two shots.”
The article quoted a Dr. Harold Farber in the April 9, 1960, issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). His opinion was “… that of a probable 6,000 paralytic cases expected by the end of 1960, 1,000 are likely to have had the three shots.”
The New York Times of April 24, 1960 was quoted “Abut 2/3 of the polio cases are among unvaccinated persons,” implying 1/3 of the cases were among those who were vaccinated!
“The point of all this is that the expected, the promised immunity from paralytic polio which is implied or guaranteed for those who have had the Salk vaccine simply does not exist… persist in creating the impression that the child who has been vaccinated with the Salk vaccine is guaranteed safe from paralytic polio. The actual fact is that there is no absolute proof that the vaccine works in humans at all, and no scientific assurance whatsoever that your child with 3 or 4 or 5 shots of Salk vaccine is any safer after receiving them that he was before.”
“Unfortunately, the Salk vaccine is not willing to take the rap when the polio rate rises, in the same way it is willing to take the bows when it falls. When polio goes up, the authorities say it’s because not enough people have availed themselves of the shots. Yet in 1956, when the rates went down the polio experts assured us that the decrease occurred only because so many people had had their vaccine shots.”
K.A. Brownlee had an article in the Journal of the American Statistical Association (50:1005, 1955) that was quoted in Prevention’s article. “… 59% of the trial was worthless because of a lack of adequate controls. The remaining 41% may be all right but contains internal evidence of bias in favor of the vaccinated…”
The article goes on to discuss the “new” oral polio vaccine discovered by Dr. Albert Sabin who was quoted in the July, 1960, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Dr. Sabin said “… that the vaccine has proven itself and that polio can be eliminated from the United States by the summer of 1961 if the vaccine is approved by the Public Health Service.”
Finally, the article asks questions that we still ask today about any vaccine — and that still go unanswered.
“We don’t know yet how much Salk vaccine is good for how long, yet we’re urged to take it. We don’t know about the safety of the injections of Salk polio vaccine for tiny babies; we just do it, taking a chance that it will be all right…”
The article quotes a statement made at the 2nd International Conference on Live Polio Vaccines that was reported in the Medical News (June 22,1960): “There is a dangerous virus sometimes present in the kidney cells of monkeys used to make the polio vaccines for humans. ‘Virus-infected culture fluids used to prepare killed poliomyelitis or adeno- virus vaccines are commonly contaminated with simian agents…’”
“Could it be that a postponement of the okay on the Sabin vaccine was dictated by powerful drug firms who would be left high and dry with millions of unsalable Salk doses if the Sabin vaccine were approved at once?
“It is our guess that the Sabin vaccine will be approved, and the Salk vaccine will be allowed to fade peacefully into the background… Its shortcomings will never be truly explored. The story of the money thrown away on it, the people fooled by it, the faith wasted on it, will never be told.”
The March 4, 1993 issue of The New York Times, had an obituary of “Albert Sabin, Polio Researcher, 86, Dies.”
The obit went on with columns of information on Dr. Sabin. A few highlights:
“Before coming into wide use in this country, the vaccine was tested in millions of people in 1958 and 1959 in the Soviet Union, where it proved widely successful. In the United States the vaccine was tested earlier on prisoners who volunteered for the experiments and before that on Dr. Sabin himself and members of his family.”
“The Salk vaccine received a temporary setback when public health officials reported that a few children, about one in a million inoculated, were developing polio because of the virus. Dr. Sabin, however, never admitted that his vaccine was responsible.”
“In the swine flu episode of 1976, when the Federal government feared an epidemic, he first supported but later denounced the Federal policy of vaccinating all adults against the flu virus… Dr. Sabin made Federal officials unhappy by saying he doubted there was as much danger from the swine flu as the public was being led to believe.”
Although he helped Brazil in 1974 with their polio outbreaks, he later said “…the Brazilian government had falsified data in the early 1970’s to give the World Health Organization, a United Nations agency, a falsely optimistic picture of polio eradication in that country. He estimated that in 1980 there was 10 times as much polio in Brazil as was being reported and that efficient vaccination efforts were being blocked by bureaucratic interference.”
Dr. Sabin “…proved that the virus first invaded the digestive tract and later attacked nerve tissue.”
Among his other accomplishments listed were these: Research on pneumococcus bacterial infections; research on the relationships between human cancer and viruses. While in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, he helped develop a vaccine against dengue fever, a disease that was striking the troops. He developed a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus. He isolated the virus that caused sandfly fever and showed that ordinary mosquito repellent would provide protection against the disease. He also studied the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, as well as the viruses that cause encephalitis. He was the first to identify a virus called echo 9 as a cause of human intestinal illness.
Beginning in the 1980’s some people who had polio, the disease, began experiencing problems of fatigue, loss of stamina. Too many of those people were thought to be lazy. By the mid-80’s the March of Dimes was sending out information to doctors about “Post-Polio Syndrome.”
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) had an article on April 12, 1993, by Dianne Piastro about a recent conference on Post-Polio. She quoted Patti Strong, a presenter at the conference, and here is some of what she said:
“Several symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome are overwhelming fatigue, new muscle weakness, pain, intolerance of cold, and looking better than you feel… Over a 30-year span, we permanently depleted fragile muscles and nerves… the new motto: ‘conserve it to preserve it.’”
The article talked about support groups, and the current information I have found is www.post-polio.org. The Post-Polio Health International support group is located in St. Louis, MO, and they have periodic conferences.
The March 30, 1997, issue of the Syracuse Herald American had a column by Mario Rossi “Post-polio syndrome requires treatment, not more research.”
As an aging polio survivor, he stated “… what can and does happen is that the initial effects of polio impact on one’s whole well-being and thus affect him through the years... Physical degeneration initiated by polio is not sporadic, episodic or incidental. It is continuous, although at widely differing rates among victims. And it requires symptomatic treatment rather than a causal approach because post-polio is a syndrome, not a disease, and polio itself never strikes again.”
So much for the optimism that polio would be eradicated. And, since 1998 we know that the vaccine caused cases of polio and necessitated a change in the polio vaccine schedule.
As I review my files, I am reminded how some things never change, namely, the approach of the medical profession and government in seeing that vaccines are to be given to all, no matter what. And then, to deny the consequences.
History repeats itself and instead of each generation reinventing the wheel, we need to take new actions that change the history.
Bonnie P. Franz