Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Plaguing Children Stumps CDC

Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Plaguing Children Stumps CDC
by Patrice La Vigne
As of September 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 89 cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), also often referred to as Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), a neurological disease whose symptoms resemble those of poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, but for which no cause or treatment is known
Polio Vaccine to Blame?
Though the cause of AFM has yet to be determined, hypothesis is that AFM cases are associated with live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), which is no longer given to children in the U.S. but is still given to children in other parts of the world, where the live vaccine strain virus can shed in the body fluids of children and cause vaccine strain polio in the vaccinated child or a close contact. “Cases of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis cases do occur in countries using oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV),” according to the CDC.7
India is the perfect example of a country where scientists have long questioned the association between OPV campaigns and increases in unexplained cases of sudden paralysis among children. While India recorded its last case of wild poliovirus in 2011 after 20 years of giving the country’s children multiple doses of OPV, there has been huge surge of cases of Non-Polio Acute Flaccid Paralysis (NPAFP).
Since January 2015, there have been 18,000 cases of NPAFP in India. Compared with 12,000 cases of non-polio paralysis recorded in 2004 in India, which has the second largest population in the world, the number of AFP cases have risen to 53,563 cases in 2012. According to polio surveillance program data, two Indian pediatricians have identified a link between more frequent OPV use and cases of NPAFP.8
The link between childhood vaccines and paralysis has been long known. In particular, the theory of provoked polio suggests that intramuscular injections, such as DPT shots, may be the root of some polio-related paralysis. This is most certainly an hypothesis some experts would like tested.9 Until there are answers, the cause of the tragic cases of AFP/AFM that are occurring in the U.S. and other countries remains a mystery.