vaccines

M. Doherty M_Doherty at NIH.gov
Thu Aug 22 16:49:56 EST 1996


In article <4vgfii$2aj at dfw-ixnews2.ix.netcom.com>,
eric7771 at ix.netcom.com(Chuck E Perkins) wrote:

> I have read numerous articles by various reserch disputing the validity
> of vaccines.  My major concern is the Polio vacciene.  Dr Salk himself
> testified agains his own creation and against Dr. Sabin inventor of the
> live vaccine stating that the polio vaccine was "the principle if not
> sole cause" of all reported polio cases in U.S. since 1961.  They dont
> call it polio after the inoculation but aseptic maningitis.  I have
> personally heard of aseptic maningitis casses ammong my friends kids
> which have shortly prior to dzs inoculated for polio.


Well that's not quite true.  Dr. Salk *did* testify that almost all cases
of Polio in the US are caused by the vaccine, but he was using that as an
argument for it's effectiveness.

Does that sound crazy? Let me explain.  Prior to the vaccine, the number
of cases of polio that required hospital treatment rose and fell from
year, but was between 20,000 and 35,000 cases a year.  And that was back
in the good ol'days when the population was less than 1/2 what it is now.

When the vaccine was introduced, the number of cases fell at first to a
few thousands and then to a few hundreds a year and people were sure that
polio would be wiped out, just as smallpox has been.

Unfortunately, the number of cases eventually reached one or two a year
and has remained there (there were no cases last year, for instance, but
two in the year before that, and a total of 8 since 1984).  Most of these
cases *are* the result of the vaccine strain and we know now that some
people are very susceptible to the poliovirus that causes the disease.  A
infection with wild virus would kill them very quickly and even the
weakened vaccine strain can cause injury, or in some cases, death.

So we have a hard choice - immunise children knowing that one or two of
them might die or become ill every year, or not immunise - and know that
thousands of them will die, and thousands more become paralysed.

As to aseptic meningitis, poliomyelitis is still called poliomyelitis. 
Aseptic meningitis is an inflammatory response in the brain caused by the
bodies response to viral infection.  It can be caused by many one of
thousands of different virus - including polio - (although a small number
of common viruses are the major culprits).  It is only when the disease
spreads to the nervous system at large, causing significant symptoms that
it becomes polio (something which very few other viruses are capable of,
fortunately).

As for the utlity of vaccines, polio is one ofthe shining examples which
proves that they *do* work - and very well at that.  You can test this
yourself, if you are a baby boomer or younger.  Think about how many of
the kids you went to school with are paralysed or dead as a result of
polio.  Then ask your parents the same question about their generation. 
The answers might surprise you!

Hope that answers your questions.

Cheers, Mark



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