April 15, 2009

Vaccine Strain Polio Death in Minnesota

The live virus Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), which is no longer used in the US but is used in places like India and Nigeria, can lead to actual polio infections both in those who get the vaccine and in others who can catch the disease from those who are "shedding" the virus after the vaccine.

This is a case where someone came into contact with someone shedding polio after OPV.

I don't know why the OPV vaccine is still used at all. It is my understanding that part of the reason polio is still active in India and Nigeria is because they use the OPV.

Minnesota Department of Health
News Release
April 14, 2009
Contact information
Polio virus associated with oral vaccine reported in Minnesota resident
Patient who died had weakened immune system, multiple other health conditions

State health officials are investigating a case of infection associated with the polio virus in a Minnesotan who died last month.

The patient was infected with a virus strain found in the oral polio vaccine. The oral vaccine, which is no longer used in the U.S., contained live polio virus. The injected polio vaccine now in use contains only inactivated virus.

The patient died with symptoms that included paralytic polio, but it is not known to what extent the polio may have contributed to the death. The patient had a weakened immune system and multiple health problems. The patient most likely acquired the vaccine-derived polio virus from someone who had received the live-virus, oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) before the use of OPV was discontinued nine years ago.

Infection from polio virus can cause a wide range of symptoms. Most infections result in no or mild symptoms, but in rare cases can severely affect the neurologic system, resulting in paralysis.

Minnesota Department of Health officials are emphasizing that there is no risk to the general public from this case. Only people who have had direct, close contact with the patient, such as certain health care workers, may be at risk of infection. Adhering to recommended infection control guidelines and being vaccinated protect against polio. At this time, no additional cases of infection with the polio virus have been reported in connection with the patient.

"We are working closely with our local and national partners to investigate this case," said Minnesota State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. "It's important to note that while there is no risk to the general public, many people still have vivid memories of a time when polio was a major public health concern before the first vaccines were introduced in the 1950s. This is a very rare occurrence and does not signal a resurgence of polio."

MDH staff are working with hospital staff to determine if there might be health care workers at risk for disease. Hospital staff are notifying all health care workers who may have been exposed. "Only unvaccinated people or people with deficient immune systems who have had direct, ungloved contact with the patient's bodily secretions are at any risk for disease," said Dr. Aaron DeVries, Medical Epidemiologist at MDH. Health officials will follow up with health care workers to make sure their immunizations are up to date and they are showing no signs of disease. "If you don't hear from a public health or health care official, you're not at risk," DeVries said.

This type of polio infection is very rare, officials stressed. In rare instances, a person who has either never been vaccinated or has certain immunodeficiencies can acquire the polio virus from someone who has been vaccinated and is excreting the virus in their stool. Sometimes these infections result in illness, as happened in this situation. Only 45 cases of vaccine-derived polio disease in persons with immunodeficiencies have been reported in the world since 1961.

This is the second instance of a polio infection caused by a vaccine strain of virus in the United States since 2000, when use of live-virus oral polio vaccine was discontinued in the U.S. All polio vaccinations in the U.S. are now done with an injected, killed-virus vaccine. The other instance of vaccine-derived polio infection also occurred in Minnesota, in 2005, but was very different from this case. It occurred in an unimmunized child from a community that had high levels of non-immunization and that case was not associated with neurological symptoms.

"We suspect that one reason why Minnesota has detected both cases in the United States in the last 10 years is because of the high level of cooperation among astute clinicians, a network of clinical laboratories and the Minnesota Department of Health, which in turn has a Public Health Laboratory that looks for such rare agents as polio virus," Lynfield said.

Naturally-occurring polio has been eradicated in the western hemisphere. The last case of naturally-occurring (not from vaccine) paralytic polio disease occurred in the United States in 1979.

Although members of the general public are not at risk, MDH officials say this unusual case should serve as a reminder to make sure that all of your immunizations are current and that children receive immunizations as recommended.

"It's always a good idea to check with your physicians or health care providers to be certain all of your vaccinations are current," DeVries said. "Make sure you're protected and your children are protected."

Most people in the United States have been vaccinated against polio and healthy people have developed full immunity to the disease. An estimated 94 percent of Minnesota's two-year-olds have had the full primary series of three polio shots, which are usually administered in infancy.

NOTE TO EDITORS/REPORTERS: According to Minnesota laws, the Minnesota Department of Health is unable to provide any further identifying information regarding the patient. In addition, the family has expressed their strong desire to maintain their privacy and confidentiality, so we are asking media to refrain from attempts to identify, locate or interview the family. Health officials are also concerned that doing so could interfere with the continuing investigation.

For more information, contact:
Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
Dr. Aaron Devries


Jim said...

Oh great - the Great Media Polio Scare of 2009 starts.. in Minnesota..

Actually, polio is one disease that I would not want to take a chance on with doing a non-vax study.. I know of the arguments that more polio is caused by the vaccine (at least an attenuated form of it) than live, and that sanitation may mean there would be no return, but given the severity of the possible sequelae - iron lungs - it's not a chance I'd want to take.

Ironically, it seems like OPV should be better than IPV from the point of view that OPPV, unlike the injected (but inactivated) vaccine actually goes through the gut, and actually does have to pass through one of those "front-lines" of the immune system which all injected vaccines get a free pass on ("lucky shots" I suppose you could say for a really bad pun)

Now, my stance on doing a vaxed-unvaxed study of polio would change if one thing were done:

(To the CDC, WHO, FDA, and anyone else who might care to listen:)

Do a G-damn study of the high-dose vitamin C protocol, which is anecdotally reported (back when it was still reported used at all) to be able to cure polioIncluding that oh-so-nasty symptom of partial or total paralysis of everything including the diaphragm..

More (anecdotal) information can be found on the following website:

Google Search for 'polio vitamin C'The Origin of the 42-Year Stonewall of Vitamin C (by Robert Landwehr)Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin CPolio prevention & treatment However, this is a 'whale.to' link, and thus (insert all necessary sarcasm) can be safely consigned to the scrap heap of junk information on the internet..

The Treatment of Poliomyelitis and Other Virus Diseases with Vitamin C (Fred R. Klenner, M.D, Southern Medicine & Surgery, July 1949)
However, as above, 'Southern Medicine & Surgery' is a journal that I doubt anyone (including me) has ever heard of before, and strongly resembles the notorious or infamous (depending on your chosen side of the 'autism fence'..) 'Journal of Physicians and Surgeons" - and so can be safely consigned to the junk heap of junk internet science as above - at least if you're the type who doesn't want to even look for answers to things like.. oh.. autism - or polio..

Finally, to quote another questionable website ("Vitamin C Has Been Known To Cure Over 30 Major Diseases For Over 50 Years"), regarding Dr. Klenner's (*ahem* anecdotal) curing of poliovirus via vitamin C treatment:

It is difficult to ignore his success, but it has been done. Dr. Klenner wrote: "Some physicians would stand by and see their patient die rather than use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) because in their finite minds it exists only as a vitamin."So, to repeat my original charge to all the major health organizations around the globe, TEST THE DAMN HYPOTHESIS!!This is how we usually answer interesting scientific and medical questions - we test them. Given that polio is still endemic in various parts of the developing world even now, it seems difficult to truly make an ethical argument against this treatment, when the large scale infrastructure for implementation of the "proven treatment" (vaccination) does not yet exist. Especially in places where polio has already occurred. Klenner reported that the high-dose Vitamin C treatment was not only effective at stopping polio from damaging motor nerves, but also had some success in reversing existing poliomyelitis symptoms (i.e. paralysis).

So, Bill Gates Foundation, do it! You (speaking to the entire Foundation) of anyone certainly have the money to do such a trial, as well as manage to actually get it published somewhere where it will be read (i.e. not in (sic) JPANDS or Medical Hypotheses) Unless you really don't want to known the answer to the burning question, "can polio be cured?" I can't for the life of me imagine why.

Of course, you could ask the same thing about another burning question of the day, "can chelation help autism?" That question hasn't been answered either, thanks to some person unknown somewhere (my money is on the NImH) who cancelled the damn study over one study in rats! Moreover, these were (presumably) neurotypical rats.

At least I assume they were neurotypical rats (how do you run an autism test on a rat, anyway?!) Perhaps autistic rats would have had (to put it very bluntly), less to "lose" from any potential brain damage cause by the DMSA. And, does anyone know whether these rats were getting adequate replacement doses of all those metals that are required for life that the chelators take out as well as the bad stuff? You know, things like zinc, chromium, magnesium, calcium, cobalt (in B12), etc?

Starski said...

I want to comment on this quote: "It is my understanding that part of the reason polio is still active in India and Nigeria is because they use the OPV."

This is not true. Where did this come from? Studies have shown that polio is persisting in India (to be specific, parts of Northern India) because of multiple reasons such as very high population density and poor sanitation (both of which facilitate transmission) and high rates of diarrhoea (which prevent OPV from working as well as it could do). In Nigeria, the persistence of polio stems from a vaccine boycott which occurred in 2003/4 when some religious leaders spread rumours that OPV would sterilise children. This caused a huge outbreak which spread to around 20 countries worldwide. While there has been some improvement in vaccine uptake, it is still not adequate and when you add in inadequacies in the healthcare system which result in some children not being reached the result is that too many children are unvaccinated and polio continues to spread amongst them.

You might be getting confused with circulating Vaccine Derived Polioviruses (cVDPVs). In very rare cases, OPV can recombine with other enteroviruses in the gut of the vaccinee and produce a polio virus which can be transmitted from child to child. By rare I mean that there have been around 12 such outbreaks from several billion doses of OPV administered worldwide (i.e. much smaller risk than a child is at when in a moving vehicle) and they only spread amongst unvaccinated children (i.e. complete vaccination and these wouldn't even be a problem). There is one such outbreak in Nigeria currently (circulating due to the aforementioned low vaccine coverage). There has never been such an outbreak in India.