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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Date: 01 May 1995

In <3nrcj4$>

>In <>, Larry <> writes:
>>The only cases of polio in the United States for years (I would have
>>to reseach the exact number) have been directly related and caused by the
>That is because you vaccinate nearly everyone for polio in the US, so
>of course it statistically is most likely that the only case of polio
>in the US would be from a vaccinated child.
>However the picture is very very different in Africa where unvaccinated
>children are still dying of polio.

Yeah, and I think it bears repeating that there have been epidemics of
polio in unvaccinated religious groups in Canada and Europe (which were
related and transferred the disease to each other) within the last 15
years.  The numbers of kids severely affected in each of these
mini-epidemics far outnumbered the number of vaccine injured kids in
the entire US in the same years.  It was a horrible reminder of what
can happen if we forget the simple lessions we've learned since

   You know, it's ironic.  I've been getting critisism from folks
critical of the standard medical model to the effect that high tech ICU
type stuff has hardly increased adult life expectance at all in the
West since 1960, and that most of the gains made in this century were
instead due to relatively low tech stuff like sanitation, nutrition,
refrigeration, vaccines, antibiotics, and IV hydration for infants.
Red-faced, I have to admit all this.  We get relatively little bang for
the buck from the fancy stuff in ICUs, if you look at average years of
life gained for the average person.  But now when the alternative types
attack the vaccines and the antibiotics, too, they go too far!  We have
entirely forgotten the world these things have given us-- one in which
even a large family can expect with reasonable odds to raise every
child to adulthood.  That's something mankind has never had, and there
are people spitting on the advances which made it possible.  It makes
ME want to spit with anger!

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.


Public health programs are always hoping to eradicate polio, and
always thinking they've succeeded.  Alas, it doesn't work,
because the passenger jet spreads polio in 6 hours from places
where it's endemic to places that have basically wiped out the
wild virus (a dozen or so cases are caused sporadically by the
vaccine itself).  The following abstract gives some of the very
interesting story.  The full paper is recommended to anyone who
believes in the absolute distortions of the truth that are coming
out of the anti-vaccination groups.

Can J Public Health 1989 Sep;80(5):363-368
Eradication of indigenous poliomyelitis in Canada: impact of
immunization strategies.

Varughese PV, Carter AO, Acres SE, Furesz J

During the period 1950-1954, surveillance for paralytic poliomye-
litis in Canada revealed an average of 1,914 cases (13.2 cases
per 100,000) annually. The licensing and widespread use of
inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in 1955 coincided with a
marked decline in disease rates. Due to incomplete vaccine
coverage of the population, a resurgence began in 1958 and peaked
in 1959, despite an observed vaccine efficacy of 96% for 3 doses
of IPV. The introduction and widespread use of oral poliovirus
vaccine (OPV) started in 1960 and coincided with a decline in
disease rates. Virtual elimination of the natural disease was
achieved in the 1970s in all provinces regardless of the
specific immunization program chosen (IPV or OPV alone or
combined). From 1965 to 1988, 51 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis
were reported in Canada.  Thirty-five of these cases, all but one
occurring before 1980, were attributed to wild virus infection,
(14 caused by imported virus and 21 assumed to be
endemic). Sixteen cases were OPV-associated: 4 in vaccine
recipients and 12 in contacts of OPV recipients. Vaccine-assoc-
iated paralysis in recipients and contacts occurred at the rate
of one case per 9.5 million and 3.2 million vaccine doses distri-
buted, respectively. The risk of paralysis attributable to
OPV therefore is small compared to the overall benefit of the
vaccine. Both IPV and OPV appear equally effective, and theoreti-
cally, a combination of the two (IPV followed by OPV) provides
the best risk benefit ratio. Occasional exposure
of the Canadian population to imported wild virus requires that
high levels of population immunity be maintained.

Comment: the episode referred to in the above is a 1977-8
outbreak in which a fundamentalist Christian sect in Europe which
didn't believe in vaccination experienced it's only little mini-
paralysis epidemic in the middle of the Netherlands, which had
basically no wild polio.  Contact between this group and a
similar one in Canada caused a mini-epidemic in the religious
group there.  The constituted 35 of 51 TOTAL cases over 23 years,
in a country which had had more than a thousand cases a year
before the vaccine.  No, sanitation did not improve markedly in
Canada between 1955 and 1985.  Anybody who thinks that must have
a very strange picture of the place.

Here are some more details on the late 1970's Netherlands-Canada
outbreak, for those interested:

Can J Public Health 1981 Jul;72(4):239-244
An outbreak of poliovirus infection in Alberta -- 1978.
White FM, Lacey BA, Constance PD
PMID: 7306906, UI: 82069922


Can Med Assoc J 1979 Apr 21;120(8):905-906
Poliomyelitis outbreaks in the Netherlands and Canada.
Furesz J

Lancet 1978 Dec 9;2(8102):1248
Viral and epidemiological links between poliomyelitis outbreaks
in unprotected communities in Canada and the Netherlands.
Furesz J, Armstrong RE, Contreras G


The first article which began this note is dated 1989, and notes
that Canada is now wild virus free, but still at risk for
imported viruses, just as had happened in 1978.  Mostly the
problem is groups of people in close contact who don't believe in
vaccination, and who cannot build up "herd immunity" from even
imperfect vaccination programs.  Well, the article was prescient,
because after it was written, the same thing happened AGAIN in
1993.   The Netherlands religious group, which had failed to
learn from its experience 15 years before, contracted over 60
cases of polio in 1993.   This time, the authorities in Canada
were ready, however, and waiting to see if the wild virus was
going to make the connection between this group and its sister
group in Canada which had been passed the wild plague before.
Modern genetic typing of the virus was now available, and used to
show that transfer did occur.  I do not know how many people in
Canada contracted polio as a result.  I do know that these
tragedies are largely avoidable if people will simply vaccinate.
The new protocols should eliminate even the very rare polio
occurring from the vaccines, which even over entire countries has
been only 1/3 of the rates in the mini-epidemics noted in
unvaccinated religious communities being discussed.  Very soon it
will be zero.   Whether or not the religious communities in
question have, after two episodes, learned their lessons with all
the paralyzed people, is not clear to me.   One hopes.


MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1993 May 7;42(17):337-339
Isolation of wild poliovirus type 3 among members of a religious
community objecting to vaccination--Alberta, Canada, 1993.

During September 1992-February 1993, 68 cases of poliomyelitis
occurred among members of a religious community in the Nether-
lands. Because members of an affiliated religious community in
Alberta, Canada, had direct contact (i.e, travel to and from the
Netherlands) with members of the affected community,
health authorities in Alberta conducted an investigation during
January-February 1993 to determine whether this poliovirus had
been imported.  This report summarizes the results of this

PMID: 8386797, UI: 93241140


Appl Environ Microbiol 1997 Feb;63(2):519-523
Molecular detection of an importation of type 3 wild poliovirus
into Canada from The Netherlands in 1993.

Drebot MA, Mulders MN, Campbell JJ, Kew OM, Fonseca K, Strong D,
Lee SH

Division of Microbiology, National Centre for Enteroviruses,
Victoria General Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

During the fall and winter of 1992-1993 an outbreak of wild
poliovirus type 3-associated poliomyelitis involving 71 patients
occurred in The Netherlands.  Almost all of the individuals
involved in the outbreak belonged to an orthodox
religious denomination that prohibits vaccination. A surveillance
was initiated to determine if there had been an importation of
this same strain of wild poliovirus into a southern Alberta
community with a similar religious affiliation. Viral culture of
stool samples from consenting individuals in the community
resulted in viral isolates which typed as poliovirus type 3.
Sequencing of amplicons generated from both the 5' nontranslated
region and the VP1/2A portion of the genomes from representative
poliovirus isolates indicated a greater than 99% genetic
similarity to the strain from The Netherlands. The
results of this study show that the utilization of PCR-based
diagnostics offers an important molecular tool for the concise
and rapid surveillance of possible cases of wild poliovirus
importation into communities with individuals at risk
for infection.

PMID: 9023931, UI: 97176385

Note:  They didn't manage to spread it to the US.  A silver
lining in the dark cloud of Canadian problems with its religious


MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1995 Jan 6;43(51-52):957-959
Lack of evidence for wild poliovirus circulation--United States,

Following the isolation of wild poliovirus type 3 during January-
-February 1993 among members of a religious community objecting
to vaccination in Alberta, Canada, surveillance for poliomyelitis
was enhanced among related communities in the United States (1).
In addition, during May-July 1993, a series of surveys was
conducted in seven states (Iowa, Missouri, New York, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin) to determine whether
wild poliovirus was circulating or had circulated recently among
members of these religious communities residing in the states.
This report summarizes the results of these surveys.

PMID: 7799910, UI: 95097925


I'd appreciated it if this message was crossposted to the
relevent vaccination and parent's groups.


                             Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: consipracy theorists' libel ploy
Date: 4 Feb 2000 06:19:23 GMT

In <> "Roger Schlafly" <>

>Yes, polio is controversial. Wild polio has been declared eradicated
>from the western hemisphere. The only people getting polio (in the
>west) are those who get it from the oral vaccine. Only after many
>years of heated debate is the oral polio vaccine finally being
>phased out in the US.

   No, the oral vaccine not being phased out of the US.  Rather, the
killed virus (Salk) vaccine (shot) is being added.  Before now, the
dozen or so people a year who got polio from the live oral vaccine were
outweighed by the many more unvaccinated people who should have gotten
polio but didn't, due to their being immunized by means of
child-to-adult and child-to-child spread of the attenuated oral (live)
vaccine virus. Now that job has been done, and polio has been more or
less eradicated from the US.  Probably we won't get as good a spread of
the attenuated live virus if we use the Salk vaccine first.  But at
this point, we don't need quite the "herd
immunity" that we have needed in times past.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: consipracy theorists' libel ploy
Date: 4 Feb 2000 17:24:56 GMT

In <87enhj$f9j$> "Roger Schlafly"
<> writes:

>Steven B. Harris <> wrote in message
>>    No, the oral vaccine not being phased out of the US.  Rather, the
>> killed virus (Salk) vaccine (shot) is being added.
>The CDC/ACIP recommendation is for IPV, with oral polio (OPV)
>only in special circumstances (in the US).

   Interesting.  Looks like I'm six months behind the CDC.  Didn't
realize they'd gone to special circumstances.  Still, that doesn't mean
phase out.  I think we all realise that would be a mistake.  Look at
all the loonies who won't get vaccinated, and will spread the disease?
In Canada in the 70's some religious group that didn't believe in
vaccination came down with polio that they'd gotten from some other
religious brothers in Europe.  Was most of the polio epidemic in North
America that year.  Dumb.  I wouldn't mind so much if the people
paralysed had all been over 21 and able to make adult decisions.  But
the babies really bug me.

>I wonder how many people realized that we had a vaccination
>program that was intended to infect the unvaccinated population.

  Probably not many, but it wasn't a secret.  Lots of open debate about
it in the medical literature, over many years.

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