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Last updated January 1, 2014

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Another name for Polio


Jane Colby

How vaccines can cause CFS/ME
How viruses compete with one another
Coping with CFS/ME

How vaccines can cause CFS/ME
Compiled by Doris Jones. See Chronic fatigu syndrome: a polio by another name for full reference.

CFS is a provocation disease. That is, a range of co-factors--a virus, a viral and a bacterial infection, stress, surgery, vaccination, inherited allergies, toxic chemicals--can make a person susceptible to the virus that appears to cause CFS (See Laria, RM, Coxsackieviruses: A General Update, Plenum, 1988).

Vaccines are themselves an onslaught on the immune system. After you are vaccinated, your immune system is otherwise engaged; and during this "window of vulnerability" other infections (such as viral ones) can lead to CFS, a latent infection turns into acute attack or relapses from earlier infections can occur. We know, for instance, that cell-mediated immunity--that is, your immune system's response in your cells--is depressed up to six weeks after measles vaccine (ASPI Data Sheet Compendium 199415).

According to Sir Graham S. Wilson, honorary lecturer at the Department of Bacteriology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, many different types of vaccine can precipitate polio (GS Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967:26S80).

Vaccines themselves can cause "provocation polio." H.V. Wyatt was one of the first to observe what medicine now widely accepts: that multiple injections of vaccines-or any other drugs-can lead to "provocation" polio (see WDDTY Vol 5 No 10).

Vaccines themselves do not give the patients polio. But muscle damage caused by the needle can allow polio vaccines to track up the nerves. This recently occurred in Russia, where children are commonly given injections of antibiotics. This provoked polio strains from vaccines to spread from the damaged muscle to the spinal cord, causing paralytic polio.

The weakened live viruses in vaccines can themselves mutate, causing new disease in the population. One group of researchers found that one so-called wild circulating enterovirus most closely resembled the polio vaccine virus (Brit Med Bull, 199 1;47:4:793-808). CFS patients have also been found to be infected with mutant or defective viruses Anal Gen Viral, 1990; 71: 1399-402).

How viruses "compete" with one another
The advent of polio immunization in 1955 caused changes in the balance of the gut viral population, favoring the spread of CFS.

No doubt polio immunization (both the inactivated Salk vaccine and the live oral Sabin variety, introduced worldwide between 19S4-1959) reduced circulation of the wild polio virus 1-3. However, it also altered the balance between enteroviruses, in favour of non-polio enteroviruses (NPEVS) (BMJ, 1961:106 1). For instance, in 1959, polio caused 84 percent of enterovirus associated paralysis; by 1961, its incidence had fallen to 12 percent. But after 1961, other enteroviruses such as old and new varieties of Coxsackie caused 74 percent of all enterovirus-associated paralytic disease. Between 1959-65, concludes Nightingale Research Foundation, there may have been a changeover from polio as the prevalent disease to CFS and other diseases caused by enteroviruses.

A similar changeover followed the introduction of oral polio vaccine (OPV) in China since 1971. The prior incidence of polio fell, while cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), another paralytic disease, rose sharply (The Lancet, October 8, 1994).

These produce a much greater variety of symptoms, since the NPEVs are more widely distributed in the body than is polio (muscle, joints, heart, endocrine and lymphoid organs), according to CFS specialist Dr. Elizabeth Dowsett. Otherwise, lesions in brain stem, mid and hind brain and upper spinal cord are identical in polio and CFS, according to ISO post mortems done on US Army veterans with a history of polio (JAMA, 1947; 134:1148-54).

In viral populations, the polio virus can easily be displaced by Echo or Coxsackie viruses,and this second enterovirus may be more virulent than the polio virus it replaces (The Lancet, 1962: 548-5I). Post-1955 CFS patients frequently have been shown to have severe muscle failure (B.M. Hyde, The Clinical and Scientific Basis of ME/CFS, 1992:111-6).

Many gut viruses other than polio virus 1-3 can cause paralytic polio and CFS. This is because they can attach to more than one set of tissue receptors found on different cells in the brain, spine and other body areas, as can polio. Injury to such cells results in CFS symptoms, which also occur in polio and post-polio syndromes.

The presence of these non-polio gut bugs also appears to alter responses in the population to the various vaccine strains of polio. During a 1955 polio epidemic in areas of Iceland that had been exposed to the 1948-49 outbreak of epidemic neuromyasthenia (the early name for ME), children had a lower antibody response to polio 1 vaccine strain, but an increased response to polio vaccine strains 2 and 3 (Lancet, 1958; 1:3707 1). Later, it was discovered that other viruses can inhibit the pathological effects of classic polio (IRSC Jnl lnt Res Coms [Med Sc], 1974;2:22-26).

Enteroviruses easily mutate-hence the polio strain used in vaccines "wanders." There have been countless reports of vaccine failure, polio contracted by fully vaccinated populations and parents contracting polio from vaccinated infants. In these, the weakened, supposedly "safe" vaccine strain of polio has transformed into a virulent enterovirus-either one of the classic polio ones or a strange mutation of it. Over 64 epidemic outbreaks of CFS have been published in the past 70 years, two-thirds after the introduction of polio immunization 40 years ago (Am Jnl Med, 1959:S69-95; AM Ramsay, Myolgic Encephatomyelitis and Postviral Fatigue Syndromes, Gower Med Pub[, 1988; SAMJ, 1988; 74: 448-52; Postgrad Med J, 1 988; 64: 559-67).

In epidemic form, this disease strikes teaching and medical establishments (CFS is more common in teachers than in health care workers). The earliest epidemic outbreaks usually occurred in the wake of a polio epidemic, the first at LA County General Hospital in 1934 (Pubi Health Bulletin 240, Washington DC, 1938), referred to as "Atypical Polio." Another, which affected officers and men in Switzerland in 1939, was described as "abortive poliomyelitis" (Helvetica Med Acta, 1949; 1 6:170-72), as was a 195O NY State outbreak (Neurology, 1954;4:506-16).

Coping with CFS/ME
CFS is not just fatigue; neurological symptoms may be worse. Memory, mood, concentration, speech, counting, sensation, balance, vision, hearing, sleep, temperature, appetite, hormone production and response to stress can all be affected. Don't worry that you are going mad; this is part of the package.

To facilitate diagnosis, ask early for routine laboratory tests.

Play safe prior to official diagnosis. Many CFS sufferers deteriorate through pushing themselves too hard.

If your doctor diagnoses "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" ask if he will call it "CFS/ME." CFS on its own covers numerous conditions.

Keep daily notes of symptoms for medical consultations and as evidence for insurance or benefit claims.

For pain or headache avoid non-steroidal anti-inflarnmatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, especially in children.

Move carefully to avoid accidents due to lack of coordination.

Learn to manage so-called panic attacks. If panic begins, distract yourseff. Phone someone, make a drink, talk

Eat foods that won't irritate the gut-well-cooked vegetables and easily absorbed protein, like white meat and fish. Carbohydrates are essential; potato is an excellent source. You may develop food sensitivities, especially to grains (often wheat) or dairy products. Avoid too much fiber or sugar.

Consider having your digestive ability tested. Alternatives columnist Harald Gaier finds that many CFS victims have low or no stomach acid (possibly as an after-affect of a gut virus or vaccine). After testing for this and, when necessary, sorting out stomach acid problems, many patients improve.

Avoid alcohol. Smoking is particularly bad, affecting heart, respiratory and immune systems.Don't be persuaded into therapies your body protests against. Polio victims should have been rested and helped to pace their lives; CFS sufferers need similar treatments to avoid further disability.

Be wary of regimens, whether orthodox or alternative, promising a cure. There is no proven cure for CFS, just as there was none for polio. Nevertheless, certain treatments may help symptoms and aid recovery.

CFS can be a relapsing condition. Avoid triggering factors, such as immunizations, or too much mental or physical activity.

Children with CFS frequently need home tutoring. Full-time schooling often provokes relapse. Part-time attendance helps; restrict exam subjects and avoid physical education.

Never assume that your CFS has totally gone even if you are symptom-free. Evidence shows that "Post-CFS" occur many years after initial infections like Post-Polio. Pace your life; don't overwork a body that may have as yet unrecognized brain problems.

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