Is there a polio outbreak in Minnesota?

A person has possible symptoms of polio. It’s suspected they caught the polio virus from another person who was vaccinated with oral polio.

Does anybody remember the 2005 polio outbreak the media reported among the Amish? Did you know it was, in fact, not an outbreak?

On October 14, the major media outlets shrieked a report of “the first outbreak of polio in the United States in 26 years,” occurring in an Amish community in central Minnesota. The specter of hundreds of children in braces and iron lung machines lining the halls of hospitals immediately danced through the air, and directly into the minds of parents who have chosen to not vaccinate their children.

More than a month later, phone calls and emails from concerned parents continue to pour in. The fears surrounding this “outbreak” need to be put to rest.

First of all, there wasn’t an “outbreak of polio.” There was only the discovery of an inactivated polio virus in the stool of four children. The first confirmation was in a 7-month old Amish infant, presumably hospitalized, with severe immune deficiency. The “find” prompted screening of other children in the community; four children were confirmed positive. None experienced any type of paralysis.

Part of the panic can be blamed on inaccurate reporting. The virus that was identified was not “wild polio.” It was a virus that is found only in the oral polio vaccine (OPV). Oral vaccine-strain viruses are inactivated with formaldehyde and are generally considered by the CDC “too weak” to cause disease. Even though the OPV is still used extensively in Third World countries, it has not been used in the United States since 2000. How did children in an isolated Amish community, with no exposure to foreigners, become exposed to vaccine-strain polio virus? That remains a mystery.

The unasked question is why was finding this strain front-page news? My suspicion is that it was because it was an Amish child; a large number of the Amish choose to not vaccinate their children. A confirmation would serve a dual purpose: to make an ”example” of the Amish and scare parents into believing polio still being ”in circulation,” when in fact, it is not.

A review of polio is important to alleviating the fears about the disease. Keep in mind that the last case of “wild type” polio virus in U.S was in 1979; the last case the Western Hemisphere was in the Peru, in 1991.

Polioviruses are transient inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract. Up to 95% of all polio infections are completely asymptomatic. Approximately 5% of polio infections consist of a minor, nonspecific illness consisting of an upper respiratory tract infection (sore throat and fever) and gastrointestinal disturbances (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea). This influenza-like illness, clinically indistinguishable from the myriad of other viral illnesses, is characterized by complete recovery in less than a week with resultant life time immunity.

I wonder what will really become of this story in Minnesota. I just don’t believe what is being reported. It is misleading.

Could it be possible the person was vaccinated with oral polio virus which stayed in their system and is still being detected?

Could it be possible the person died of another neurological disorder unrelated to polio?

I don’t know. I’m not a doctor but with all my vaccine research, I have to speculate.
 sources: http://www.newswithviews.com/Tenpenny/sherri3.htm  http://www.pediatricsupersite.com/view.aspx?rid=38991

 

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