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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Polio Crusade for showing us how
science finally provided us a vaccine for this horrible
disease which has virtually whipped it out.

The Polio Crusade

The Polio Crusade (2006) - 60 minutes
The Polio Crusade at Amazon.com

In the summer of 1950 fear gripped the residents of Wytheville, Virginia. Movie theaters shut down, baseball games were cancelled and panicky parents kept their children indoors - anything to keep them safe from an invisible invader. Outsiders sped through town with their windows rolled up and bandanas covering their faces. The ones who couldn't escape the perpetrator were left paralyzed, and some died in the wake of the devastating and contagious virus. Polio had struck in Wytheville. The town was in the midst of a full-blown epidemic. That year alone, more than 33,000 Americans fell victim - half of them under the age of ten.

This American Experience film interweaves the personal accounts of polio survivors with the story of an ardent crusader who tirelessly fought on their behalf while scientists raced to eradicate this dreaded disease. The Polio Crusade features interviews with historians, scientists, polio survivors, and the only surviving scientist from the core research team that developed the Salk vaccine, Julius Youngner.

10-16-18 A mysterious polio-like disease has sickened as many as 127 people in the U.S.
There is no cure for acute flaccid myelitis, and the CDC can’t figure out what’s causing it. U.S. health officials are investigating an outbreak of a mysterious, polio-like disease that causes weakness in one or more limbs. The rare disease — acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM — has sickened 62 people, mostly children, in 22 states so far this year and is suspected in 65 more cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced October 16. Starting with an outbreak of 120 cases that brought the disease to national attention in 2014, close to 400 cases have been confirmed in the United States. So far, the CDC has been unable to figure out what’s causing the outbreaks. “This is a mystery,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta, said during a news briefing. “We haven’t solved it yet.” Although the disease is frightening, fewer than one in a million people in the United States get AFM every year, based on CDC data collected since 2014. “Parents need to know that acute flaccid myelitis is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we’re seeing now,” she said. Even so, the CDC recommends that patients who develop sudden weakness in their arms or legs seek immediate medical care.

  1. What is acute flaccid myelitis? The disease targets the spinal cord, leading to arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone.
  2. What causes AFM? The CDC is investigating viruses and environmental toxins as possible causes, but has yet to find a single agent responsible for the peaks in cases this year and in 2014 and 2016, when 149 cases were confirmed.
  3. Is there a treatment for AFM? There is no cure or specific medical treatment for AFM.
  4. Are there factors that increase the risk of AFM? That still isn’t known.

6-26-18 Poliovirus treatment helped patients with deadly brain tumors live longer
A modified form of the virus increased survival in some people with glioblastoma. Few treatment options are available to people facing a second battle with a particularly fatal type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. But dosing the tumor with a genetically modified poliovirus — one that doesn’t cause the eponymous, devastating disease — may give these patients more time, a small clinical study suggests. Of 61 people with recurring glioblastoma who were treated with the modified virus, 21 percent were alive after three years. In a “historical” comparison group of 104 patients, who would have been eligible for the treatment but died before it was available, 4 percent lived as long, researchers report online June 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two patients who received the altered virus are still alive today, six years after treatment. “They’ve been able to lead largely normal lives, and we almost never see that with these brain tumors,” says neuro-oncologist and study coauthor Darell Bigner of Duke University Medical Center. The standard treatment for glioblastoma is surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer often recurs, Bigner says. Usually patients do not survive longer than 20 months after being diagnosed; those with a recurrence typically live less than a year.

6-26-18 Papua New Guinea polio outbreak declared
An outbreak of polio has been confirmed in Papua New Guinea, 18 years after the country was declared free of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus was detected in a six-year-old boy in April. The same strain of the virus has now been detected in other healthy children in the same community, making it officially an outbreak. Polio has no cure and can lead to irreversible paralysis. It mainly affects children under the age of five, and can only be prevented by giving a child multiple vaccine doses. "We are deeply concerned about this polio case in Papua New Guinea, and the fact that the virus is circulating," said Pascoe Kase, Papua New Guinea's heath secretary. "Our immediate priority is to respond and prevent more children from being infected." The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at the end of last week that the same virus that was found in the six-year-old boy was also found in samples taken from two healthy children in the same community, the WHO said. This means the virus is circulating in the community, representing an outbreak, it added. Immediate steps to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease include large-scale immunisation campaigns and strengthening surveillance systems that help detect it early. Papua New Guinea has not had a case of wild poliovirus since 1996, and the country was certified as polio-free in 2000 along with the rest of the WHO Western Pacific Region.

2-22-18 Vaccines Work!
Progress, after the World Health Organization predicted that polio will finally be eradicated “once and for all” in 2018. Last year, there were only 22 reported new cases of the disease, which paralyzed or killed millions of children in the 20th century.

8-15-17 Plants 'hijacked' to make polio vaccine
Plants 'hijacked' to make polio vaccine
Plants have been "hijacked" to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture, say scientists. The team at the John Innes Centre, in Norfolk, says the process is cheap, easy and quick. As well as helping eliminate polio, the scientists believe their approach could help the world react to unexpected threats such as Zika virus or Ebola. Experts said the achievement was both impressive and important. The vaccine is an "authentic mimic" of poliovirus called a virus-like particle. Outwardly it looks almost identical to poliovirus but - like the difference between a mannequin and person - it is empty on the inside. It has all the features needed to train the immune system, but none of the weapons to cause an infection. The scientists hijacked a relative of the tobacco plant's metabolism to turn its leaves into polio-vaccine "factories".

4-17-16 Vaccine switched in 'milestone' towards ending polio
Vaccine switched in 'milestone' towards ending polio
More than 150 countries have begun switching to a different polio vaccine - an important milestone towards polio eradication, health campaigners say. The new vaccine will target the two remaining strains of the virus under a switchover 18 months in the planning. There were just 74 cases of the paralysing disease in 2015 and there have been 10 so far this year. (Webmaster's comment: Thanks to polio vaccine this disease has almost been eradicated. No thanks to vaccine deniers other diseases have not.)

5-16-16 Pakistan could beat polio in months, says WHO
Pakistan could beat polio in months, says WHO
Polio could be eradicated in Pakistan within months, health officials say, as a mass vaccination drive is launched. A World Health Organisation spokesman told the BBC only a handful of cases have been reported this year in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan. The two countries are the last places where polio remains endemic. It is hoped millions of children will be vaccinated over three days. Police escorts will guard against Islamist militants who oppose immunisations.

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The Polio Crusade

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Polio Crusade for showing us how
science finally provided us a vaccine for this horrible
disease which has virtually whipped it out.