National Geographic News
In this photo taken with a mobile phone, Jessica Tomei holds her 4-year-old daughter, Sofia Jarvis, during a news conference at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Palo Alto, Calif. Sofia is one of a handful of California children who has been diagnosed with a rare polio-like syndrome that has left her arm paralyzed. Stanford researchers say there is a possibility of an emerging infectious polio-like syndrome in California.

In this photo taken with a mobile phone, Jessica Tomei holds her 4-year-old daughter, Sofia Jarvis, at a news conference on February 24, 2014. Sofia has a rare polio-like syndrome that left her arm paralyzed.


Diane Cole

for National Geographic

Published February 27, 2014

It's not polio—but news of five cases of a rare polio-like disease that has left five California children with one or more paralyzed limbs has riveted the public and stirred up worries and confusion. The children, all of whom had been successfully immunized against polio, range in age from 2 to 16, and their paralysis—which came on suddenly, as if out of nowhere—is apparently incurable.

The California Department of Public Health is also investigating 20 more reports of the syndrome, but according to a statement released earlier this week, "Thus far, the Department has not identified any common causes that suggest that the cases are linked."

Are these cases a tragic anomaly or a harbinger of a public health threat? "We're not considering this an outbreak," says Jane Seward, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's deputy director for the division of viral diseases. A small number of cases of acute flaccid paralysis (or AFP, sudden-onset weakness or paralysis) occur every year around the country, and the current numbers are "well within the expected range," she explains.

"The CDC expresses care and concern for the children" and their families and is working closely with the California Department of Public Health, she says. "But at this time we don't think the situation in California is a cause for public concern."

Putting What We Know—and Don't Know—in Perspective

Yet despite these reassurances, questions persist, as does a sense of uncertainty about how to place these cases in perspective. Certainly, whenever the word "polio" appears in a health story, fears are aroused—and understandably so, given that until the 1940s and '50s, polio epidemics around the country disabled approximately 35,000 people each year, mostly children. Thanks to the development of the antipolio vaccine in the 1950s, the United States (and most of the world) is now polio free.

But polio still exists in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. And outbreaks can occur. It's therefore important, when cases of AFP appear, to test for polio as well as to identify the virus responsible, says Diane Griffin of Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

The cases in California are not polio. But viruses other than polio can cause this kind of paralysis, she says. "They just do it much less frequently than the polio virus does." That means the cases being seen now in California, while both extremely infrequent and enormously sad, do occur. In this case, she says, "people are looking [to see] if there is some unusual increase [in paralysis] due to a particular virus."

Are the California cases evidence that such paralysis is indeed occurring a little more frequently than usual? And is there a single virus that is responsible?

Those are the questions that neurologists Keith Van Haren of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University and Emmanuelle Waubant of University of California San Francisco Medical Center asked after they encountered the five AFP cases in their hospitals over the course of a year. "Normally, you'd expect to see this kind of case once every five years," says Van Haren. To put it in perspective, this is "a modest increase of a very rare syndrome," he says.

But it nonetheless seemed unusual and warranted pursuing. They wondered if what they were seeing was "simply statistical noise," essentially a coincidence of timing, or "whether this is more significant," he says.

Is EV68 to Blame?

Waubant emphasizes that the five cases are not clustered around a particular place: They occurred within a 100-mile radius. And there are no common factors beyond the presentation of their symptoms and their outcomes. Two of the five children, however, did test positive for enterovirus-68 (EV68).

Both the polio virus and EV68 are among the more than 200 related viruses in the Picornaviridae family. Like polio, the enterovirus is spread by person-to-person contact, but it generally leads to nothing more serious than a common cold, if that. But in rare instances, enterovirus infections have caused meningitis, encephalitis—and paralysis. Indeed, over the past decade EV68 has been associated with small numbers of AFP cases in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

So, is EV68 the culprit? "We still don't know," says Waubant. Three of the five patients were not seen by Waubant and Van Haren until several weeks after the onset of paralysis, by which time their systems would have already cleared the virus that was responsible, she says. As for the other two, it could be coincidental that they found EV68. Or, says Van Haren, "it may be that we're seeing a couple of different viruses causing these cases."

Wondering if other physicians were observing any similar cases, Van Haren and Waubant wrote their report and submitted it to the American Academy of Neurology, whose press release triggered an immediate and overwhelming media response. The bottom line, according to Waubant, is that "we don't think that there is an epidemic about to hit. What we're dealing with is extremely rare."

To be sure, says Waubant, in the sudden onset of acute weakness, it's essential to consult your primary health care provider immediately. But, she says, "you should not panic if your kids have a cold."

What the Public Needs to Know

Key questions do remain: Is it mere chance that this rarely seen syndrome has had a slight uptick of late? Is this a new virus or a new viral strain that may prove more likely to cause severe outcomes than previous strains?

To help determine the answers, "we want other physicians to be aware that we've seen these cases, and encourage them to contact the Department of Health if they see cases like this," says Van Haren. "We're seeing this as a modestly increased rate than we would expect in our practice, and we'd like other practitioners and medical personnel to be on the lookout" and, if they see similar cases, to provide their patients' blood, spinal fluid, stool, nasal, or mouth swabs for testing.

In the meantime, says Van Haren, "this should not alter any aspect of anyone's family life or child care. What we hope it will do is alter the referral pattern among specialists so they can send samples to the Department of Public Health and help us determine if this is a phenomenon that is increasing above baseline and what is causing it."

The need for answers can be seen in the five children who have been left partially paralyzed.

"The tough thing is that the prognosis for these kids is limited in terms of recovery from the paralysis," says Van Haren. "That has been the hard thing about what we've seen. We're not used to seeing such a limited recovery."

Felica Jones
Felica Jones

If you have small children get you need to read this

Harvey Gilland
Harvey Gilland

Re: Ca, CDC, polio


Sounds exactly like ( PEM ) which has polio like symptoms.

Cattle that ingest high levels of sulfur exhibit the same symptoms and even die from PEM.

Sulfur is passive in both meat and milk and is known to be found in high levels in ethanol by-products sold as cattle feed.

Symptoms in cattle:

compromised immune system ( constantly getting sick )

paralysis ( downers )

necropsy reveals brain nerve damage

Didn't I just read of a large amount of meat recall in Ca because cows had cancer eye and disease like conditions.?

(Cancer eye and diseased like condition) are signs of PEM

Polio in humans is a virus. (poliomyelitis )
PEM ( AKA polio ) ( /Polioencephalomalacia ) in cattle is not a virus, it is toxic poisoning.
PEM produces (poliomyelitis ) like symptoms.

PEM ( /Polioencephalomalacia ) is passive.
Meaning it can be passed through milk and meat to humans.
Just like it can be passed from a cow, to her calf in gestation and in her milk.

[quote] Sulfur is an essential macro-mineral for all livestock species. It is contained in essential amino acids such as methionine and cystine and is also found in the B-vitamins, thiamine and biotin. The 2005 National Research Council guidelines recommend a 0.3 percent total dietary sulfur on a dry matter basis for livestock consuming high concentrate rations, such as feedlot cattle and 0.5 percent total dietary sulfur on a dry matter basis for livestock consuming forage-based rations, such as beef cows. Sulfur can come from the following sources:
�Distillers grains
�Water supply
�Other feed additives

In distillers grains, sulfur build-up occurs due to an additive effect associated with typical processing practices. Corn contains about 0.12 percent sulfur. The addition of other sulfur-containing compounds can quickly elevate the sulfur content of distillers grains. Additionally, yeast will add to the amount of sulfur in the distillers grains. Ethanol producers can improve the marketability of their distillers grains by consciously trying to minimize sulfur additions whenever possible.

The recycling and reuse of water streams within these plants may increase the sulfur concentration by as much as 300 percent, according to James Chapman, Ph.D, dairy technology manager for Prince Agri Products Inc. In addition, several chemicals that are utilized during the typical ethanol production process can contribute to higher sulfur levels in the finished product. [/quote]

Healthy Solutions
Healthy Solutions

This is yet another example of how vaccinations don't work. The use of vaccinations minimizes / eliminates the body's ability to develop natural antibodies. The sad irony is that the people who are most vulnerable to new illnesses, or new strains of old viruses, are the ones who've been vaccinated. It happens over and over. Several weeks ago, 8 Fordham University students contracted mumps - all of whom were vaccinated for mumps (and a host of other potential ailments). Several years earlier, whooping cough was on the rise - amongst vaccinated children.

Stefy Spike
Stefy Spike

@Healthy Solutions This is an example of why more vaccines should be developed. A polio vaccine will not work on other enteroviruses, of which there are many outbreaks worldwide (and have been many for a long time). The sad irony is people like you make vaccines ineffective, thereby bringing back diseases that were nearly gone from our society.

John S.
John S.

@Healthy Solutions  I don't think you understand fundamentally what a vaccine does. A vaccine is a way to safely stimulate immune responses against a certain pathogen in people. Vaccinated people vs infected people produce the same kind antibodies. As effective as vaccines are, they do not confer immunity for 100% off the population. That's why there are cases here and there.

The people who are most vulnerable to diseases are the ones who aren't vaccinated. Mumps and whooping cough used to be an epidemic, but with the vaccines against them, we only see a few cases here and there. 

Richard Daggett
Richard Daggett

@Cinda Wood Dr. Martin's "center" is located in a private residence. Of the fourteen references he lists, ten are references to his own published articles. He has been warned by the FDA that his shoddy record keeping is not allowable by a legal non-profit, and the people he lists as attending his conferences do not, in fact, attend. Just thought you would like to know.

Danchi ElNura
Danchi ElNura

@John S. @Healthy Solutions P3.

With the passage of time and the vaccinated population not getting their boosters, all become susceptible to the disease. Susceptibility to childhood diseases when we are adults greatly increases severe morbidity and mortality from those diseases. Parents and the powers that-be desire this vaccination approach in order to defer infectious disease to a later date so they do not have to stay home, miss work, and care for a sick child. Th2 dominance from vaccinations results in children being at risk of diseases arising from chronic ongoing infections as well as being vulnerable to the damaging effects of the infectious disease they were vaccinated against when they age and forget about getting booster vaccinations. On the other hand, there are parents anxious to expose their children to the childhood diseases through measles and chickenpox parties so a natural (Th1) immunity can be established early, provide lifelong immunity and appropriately condition the immune system to the natural environment.

This is why Dr. Gregory Poland wrote in a paper: 

 Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1815-20.
Failure to reach the goal of measles elimination. Apparent paradox of measles infections in immunized persons.
Poland GA1, Jacobson RM.
The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons. Because of the failure rate of the vaccine and the unique transmissibility of the measles virus, the currently available measles vaccine, used in a single-dose strategy, is unlikely to completely eliminate measles. The long-term success of a two-dose strategy to eliminate measles remains to be determined. http://archinte.jamanetwork (dot) com/article.aspx?articleid=619215
Dr. Gregory Poland is Professor of Medicine and founder and leader of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group.

As far as Polio is concerned:  Jonas Salk made this statement in 1976:

 "In 1977, Dr Jonas Salk who developed the first polio vaccine, testified along with other scientists, that mass inoculation against polio was the cause of most polio cases throughout the USA since 1961. (Science 4/4/77 “Abstracts” –Control of influenza and poliomyelitis with killed virus vaccines) and a very small embedded article in the Washington Post on September 24, 1976


 Stephen Marini, D.C., Ph.D.

  Abbas AK, Murphy KM, Sher A.  Functional Diversity of Helper T Lymphocytes.  Nature: 1996: 383  pp.787-793

  1. Golding S., Scott DE.,  Vaccine Strategy: Targeting Helper T Cell Responses.  Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 754:126-137,  May 31, 1995
  1. Moskowitz R., How Do Vaccines Work?  Pathways, Is. 10: 5-9, 2006
  1. Taylor,J.  Which Arm of the Immune Response most Likely Plays the Predominant Role in Host  Defense Against Influenza Virus: humoral or cell-mediated?  Medscape Feature, 1998, 08.98, p.443
  1. Urnovitz H.,  Archiving of Live Viral Vaccines.  From Proceedings of the First International Public Conference on Vaccination.  September 13-15, 1997.

 Article taken from: Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #13.

Danchi ElNura
Danchi ElNura

@John S. @Healthy Solutions P.2

Unvaccinated children who are exposed to measles will generate the immune response that is required to make permanent immunity as well as kick out the virus from the body. The normal, healthy body’s response to viruses is to externalize them. To suppress this natural response can be as hazardous to our health as suppressing waste elimination from the bowel or toxin release from the skin. Natural Th1 responses generate cell-mediated responses that serve to both neutralize viruses by producing antibodies and most importantly stimulate the immune cells necessary to kill any cells infected with viruses. The body works to externalize and eliminate viruses when the Th1 response is generated. So we understand now that when a Th2 response is induced, “it drives the infection deeper into the interior and causes us to harbor it chronically.”3 It is commonly held that the presence of antibody to viruses is a sign of a chronic on-going infection not a sign of immunity.4 Our bodies generally need to have Th1 cells to defend against viral, Gram-negative bacterial, and fungal infections, and tuberculosis, as well as to protect against cancer. Th2 response is necessary to protect against Gram-positive bacterial, parasitic infections, as well as to neutralize toxins from microorganisms and the environment. A balance of Th1/Th2 cells in the body is defined as immunostasis (or immune balance) and is required for optimum health and wellness. Vaccines promote a failure in immunostasis by making the Th2-type cells dominant.

Can the immune responses generated by the vaccines create a pattern of immune imbalance that actually compromises the child’s immune system?

We saw how a vaccine-generated Th2 response can burden the body and exhaust the immune system by forcing the body to deal with a chronic ongoing infection. A Th2 response to a specific virus infection will specifically suppress Th1 cells from becoming activated against the same virus. With the resulting failure to generate a Th1 response, cells infected with virus cannot be destroyed. Chronically infected cells, like nerve cells, can occasionally trick the immune system into reacting to and attacking similar nerve cells resulting in autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain Barré, etc. Cells chronically infected with live vaccine viruses also risk having the viruses mutate, trade genes with each other, as well as interact with the host cell DNA.5 The live vaccines used presently include, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox), and flu-mist. Overactive Th2 activity, underactive Th1 capability, chronic infection, potential for novel virus infection and autoimmunity characterize failed immunostasis or Th-cell imbalance in vaccinated children.

(Th1 immune response in initiated by contracting the illness naturally whereas a vaccine initiates a Th2 INFLAMMATORY response because it bypasses the  nasopharyngeal route.  This means no immunity.)

With evidence to support the adverse effects on the immune system by the vaccines, then why do we continue to vaccinate? The role of public health office is to reduce the incidence of infectious disease in the pediatric population. Vaccines generate protective immune responses on a temporary basis and reduce the incidence of infectious disease in the vaccinated kids as well as the unvaccinated kids. Why are the unvaccinated kids protected too? The risk of exposure to the disease is lessened when more individuals are vaccinated. As described, that happens because vaccinated children have tons of antibodies which neutralize infectious virus thereby lessening their ability to spread viruses to others. The phenomenon of unvaccinated children being protected by the vaccinated is known as herd immunity. Herd immunity is a welcomed effect of the vaccination process from a public health perspective. But, according to physicians like James Taylor,9 this may not be a good thing. Unvaccinated children progress into their adult years with a diminished chance of exposure to childhood diseases.

Danchi ElNura
Danchi ElNura

Part 1.

@John S. @Healthy Solutions 

 "A vaccine is a way to safely stimulate immune responses against a certain pathogen in people. Vaccinated people vs infected people produce the same kind antibodies"

This is what was believed in the 1950's before immunologist gained a better understanding of the immune system.

 I would like to present what is known about the body’s immunologic response when exposed to a microorganism naturally as compared to the response generated by the conventional vaccines. Questions that this discussion will raise are:

-Can the immune responses generated by the vaccines create a pattern of immune imbalance that actually compromises the child’s immune system?
- Does the resulting pattern of immune imbalance promote imbalances in other body systems resulting in chronic health issues?
-What is known about reversing the imbalance generated by vaccines and/or other immune stressors?

We have known for decades that getting the childhood diseases naturally results in a permanent immunity to the specific microorganism. Getting the vaccines results in a temporary immunity, meaning that susceptibility is deferred and repeated booster shots will be required for the ENTIRE life of the individual. In the 80s, the specific immune mechanisms involved in vaccine-induced immunity was discerned. In the 90s, the same mechanisms in humans were explored. T cells (thymus cells) are the major cell in the immune system; they direct and control all immune responses as well as immune memory. Subsets of T cells are the T-helper cells (Th). T-helper cells coordinate and direct the safest and most effective immune response. Using Moskowitz’s measles example, we know that, when infected with the measles virus naturally via the nasopharyngeal route, the body produces a Th1 response that externalizes the infection and provides permanent immunity.1 Fever, rash, coughing, sneezing, etc are signs of the body ridding itself of this infection. Bypassing the normal body lines of defense by injecting a vaccine forces the immune system into an emergency-based Th2 response which serves to internalize the infection. You don’t get the disease but are susceptible to the disease later since the Th2 response results in poor immune memory. So, if a natural, viral (measles) infection results in a Th1 response, why don’t we make vaccines that could elicit the same response.

In 1995, Golding and Scott,2 published the need for strategies to make vaccines that would generate the “required” Th cell to the corresponding microorganism. Since that time, attempts to produce vaccines that would generate a “natural”- type response have failed. So, we are left with vaccines that generate “protective” responses as a second choice. How does this work? In vaccine-induced Th2 responses, called humoral responses, the body produces large quantities of specific antibodies that block the virus from entering cells. This response is why a vaccinated child doesn’t get a full blown infection and why the child won’t spread as many viruses into the environment. However, antibodies cannot get into cells to eliminate viruses once the viruses are in the cells or cannot kill infected cells themselves. Therefore, the body has no choice other than to internalize the virus and be chronically infected when the body is forced into a Th2 antibody response. The body is essentially constipated with viruses that it cannot expel!


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