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POLIO: Many people mistakenly believe that anyone who contracts polio will become paralyzed or die. However, in most infections caused by polio there are few distinctive symptoms. In fact, 95 percent of everyone who is exposed to the natural polio virus won't exhibit any symptoms, even under epidemic conditions. About five percent of infected people will experience mild symptoms, such as a sore throat, stiff neck, headache, and fever-often diagnosed as a cold or flu. Muscular paralysis has been estimated to occur in about one of every 1,000 people who contract the disease. This has lead some scientific researchers to conclude that the small percentage of people who do develop paralytic polio may be anatomically susceptible to the disease. The vast remainder of the population may be naturally immune to the polio germ.
Several studies have shown that injections increase susceptibility to polio. In fact, researchers have known since the early 1900s that paralytic polio often started at the site of an injection. When diphtheria and pertussis vaccines were introduced in the 1940s, cases of paralytic polio skyrocketed (Figure 1). This was documented in Lancet and other medical publications.
Polio is virtually nonexistent in the United States today. However, according to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medical investigator and pediatrician, there is no credible scientific evidence that the vaccine caused polio to disappear. From 1923 to 1953, before the Salk killed-virus vaccine was introduced, the polio death rate in the United States and England had already declined on its own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively (Figure 2). Statistics show a similar decline in other European countries as well. And when the vaccine did become available, many European countries questioned its effectiveness and refused to systematically inoculate their citizens. Yet, polio epidemics also ended in these countries.
In 1976, Dr. Jonas Salk, creator of the killed-virus vaccine used in the 1950s, testified that the live-virus vaccine (used almost exclusively in the United States from the early 1960s to 2000) was the "principal if not sole cause" of all reported polio cases in the U.S. since 1961. (The virus remains in the throat for one to two weeks and in the feces for up to two months. Thus, vaccine recipients are at risk, and can potentially spread the disease, as long as fecal excretion of the virus continues.) In 1992, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an admission that the live-virus vaccine had become the dominant cause of polio in the United States. In fact, according to CDC figures, every case of polio in the U.S. since 1979 was caused by the oral polio vaccine. Authorities claim the vaccine was responsible for about eight cases of polio every year. However, an independent study that analyzed the government's own vaccine database during a recent period of less than five years uncovered 13,641 reports of adverse events following use of the oral polio vaccine. These reports included 6,364 emergency room visits and 540 deaths. Public outrage at these tragedies became the impetus for removing the oral polio vaccine from immunization schedules.
Fact sheets on polio, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, warn parents that the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) can cause "serious problems or even death..."
POLIO VACCINES AND CANCER: In 1959, Bernice Eddy discovered that polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer. In 1960, Drs. Ben Sweet and M.R. Hilleman, of the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, were credited with discovering this infectious agent-SV-40, a simian virus that infected nearly all of the monkeys whose kidneys were used to produce polio vaccines. Hilleman and Sweet found SV-40 in all three types of Albert Sabin's live oral polio vaccine, and noted the possibility that it might cause cancer, "especially when administered to human babies."
Further research into SV-40 uncovered even more disturbing information. This cancer-causing virus was not only ingested via Sabin's contaminated oral sugar-cube vaccine, but was directly injected into people's blood streams as well. Apparently, SV-40 survived the formaldehyde Salk used to kill microbes that defiled his injectable vaccine. Experts estimate that between 1954 and 1963, 30 million to 100 million Americans and perhaps another 100 million or more people throughout the world were exposed to SV-40 through ill-conceived polio eradication campaigns (Figure 6). Studies in eminent journals throughout the world appear to confirm that SV-40 is a catalyst for many types of cancer. It has been found in brain tumors and leukemia. In 1996, Michele Carbone, a molecular pathologist at Chicago's Loyola University Medical Center, was able to detect SV-40 in 38 percent of patients with bone cancer and in 58 percent of those with mesothelioma, a deadly type of lung cancer. Carbone's research indicates that SV-40 blocks an important protein that normally protects cells from becoming malignant. In 1998, a national cancer database was analyzed: 17 percent more bone cancers, 20 percent more brain cancers, and 178 percent more mesotheliomas were found in people who were exposed to SV-40-tainted polio vaccines.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this ongoing simian virus debacle can be found in other studies suggesting that SV-40, introduced to humans through the polio vaccine, can be passed from human to human and from mother to child. A study of nearly 59,000 women found that children of mothers who received the Salk vaccine between 1959 and 1965 had brain tumors at a rate 13 times greater than mothers who did not receive those polio shots.
Another study published in the U.S. medical journal Cancer Research found SV-40 present in 23 percent of blood samples and 45 percent of semen taken from healthy subjects. Apparently, the virus is being spread sexually and from mother to child in the womb. According to biology and genetics professor Mauro Tognon, one of the study's authors, this would explain why brain, bone, and lung cancers are on the risea 30 percent increase in U.S. brain tumors alone over the past 25 yearsand why SV-40 was detected in brain tumors of children born after 1965 who presumably did not receive polio vaccines containing the virus.
Despite official denials of any correlation between polio vaccines, SV-40 and increased cancer rates, by April 2001, 62 papers from 30 laboratories around the world had reported SV-40 in human tissues and tumors. The virus was also discovered in pituitary and thyroid tumors, and in patients with kidney disease.
POLIO VACCINES AND AIDS: SV-40, the cancer-causing monkey virus found in polio vaccines and administered to millions of unsuspecting people throughout the world, was just one of numerous simian viruses known to have contaminated polio vaccines. "As monkey kidney culture is host to innumerable simian viruses, the number found varying in relation to the amount of work expended to find them, the problem presented to the manufacturer is considerable, if not insuperable," one early vaccine researcher wrote to a congressional panel studying the safety of growing live polio-virus vaccine in monkey kidneys. "As our technical methods improve we may find fewer and fewer lots of vaccine which can be called free from simian virus."
According to Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Desrosier, the practice of growing polio vaccines in monkey kidneys is "a ticking time bomb." Evidently, some viruses can live inside monkeys without causing harm. But if these viruses were to somehow cross species and enter the human population, new diseases could occur. Desrosier continued: "The danger in using monkey tissue to produce human vaccines is that some viruses produced by monkeys may be transferred to humans in the vaccine, with very bad health consequences." Desrosier also warned that testing can only be done for known viruses, and that our knowledge is limited to about "two percent of existing monkey viruses."
Virus detection techniques were crude and unreliable during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s when polio vaccines were initially produced and dispensed. It wasn't until the mid 1980s that new and more sophisticated testing procedures were developed. That was when researchers discovered that about 50 percent of all African green monkeysthe primate of choice for making polio vaccineswere infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a virus closely related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the infectious agent thought to precede AIDS. This caused some researchers to wonder whether HIVs may simply be SIVs "residing in and adapting to a human host." It caused others to suspect that SIV may have mutated into HIV once it was introduced into the human population by way of contaminated polio vaccines. In fact, according to Robert Gallo, an expert on the AIDS virus, some versions of the SIV monkey virus are virtually indistinguishable from some human variants of HIV: "The monkey virus is the human virus. There are monkey viruses as close to isolates of HIV-2 as HIV-2 isolates are to each other."
TODAY'S POLIO VACCINE: Despite the polio vaccine's long history of animal-virus contamination, today's inactivated shot is manufactured in much the same way as earlier versions: "The viruses are grown in cultures of a continuous line of monkey kidney cells...supplemented with newborn calf serum..." The vaccine also contains two antibiotics (neomycin and streptomycin) plus formaldehyde. In Canada, the inactivated polio vaccine is produced in human fetal tissue.