- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The United States was declared “polio-free” in 1979, a feat the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is “thanks to [an] effective vaccine.”

But now it’s back — or is it? Get ready for the doublespeak. 

The government says no, the condition that’s been striking people by the hundreds around the United States and inflicting them with polio-like symptoms, to include paralysis, is not, in fact, polio. It’s polio-like. It’s polio-pretty much. But it’s still not polio.

Rather, the government says, it’s acute flaccid myelitis, a disease that hits at the central nervous system of mostly children, rendering their limbs weak, their muscles droopy, their reflexes slow, their balance off, and their ability to move, seriously impacted — which, coincidentally enough, is same-same as polio’s flu-like start, and accompanying pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and balancing, drooping muscles and even paralysis.

Know what else the government says, though?

In its “Possible Causes of AFM” section, the CDC writes: “Certain viruses that can cause AFM or similar neurological conditions are poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, West Nile virus and viruses in the same family as WNV, specifically Japanese encephalitis virus and Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and adenoviruses.”

So it’s not polio — but it can be caused by polio. Parse language much?

“Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases,” said Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a statement reported by Inverse.com.

She’s referring to the 386 cases of AFM the CDC has confirmed in U.S. patients between August 2014 and September 2018. Sixty-two of them were confirmed in 2018 alone, across 22 states.

“This is actually a pretty dramatic disease,” Messonnier went on. “These kids have a sudden onset of weakness and they are generally seeking medical care and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and their pediatricians, and coming to public health awareness.”

And that public health awareness includes this strict statement: It’s not polio.

Because, after all, if it were polio, that would open the door to some interesting questions — questions that would touch on politically hot topics that might lead to angry voters and backlash against politicians and outraged expressions of shock and accusations against the very government agencies that are supposed to protect American citizens. An example?

Well, as the CDC reports: “It is crucial to maintain the success rate of U.S. [polio] vaccination efforts since the disease still exists in some parts of the world. … For best protection, children should get four doses of polio vaccine … at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 through 18 months, and then a booster dose at age 4 through 6 years.”

Right. But here’s the political part — the part that raises question marks that simply hang in dead air: Guess who doesn’t get vaccinated according to set CDC schedules?

“Vaccination Rates Among Immigrants Are a Legitimate Concern,” rang one headline from the Center for Immigration Studies in February of 2015.

A clue.

Undoubtedly — if vaccinations are indeed the cure for certain diseases — citizens in the United States who refuse the shots bring risk to their communities as a whole. But undoubtedly, too, those who cross the border, particularly illegally, bring even greater risk. It’s just common sense: If people cross into the United States from areas of the world that are still battling diseases, like polio, then the chance for those diseases to spread in this country becomes a real threat.

All we know is that in America, polio was eradicated in 1979. But a polio-like disease that inflicts paralysis and other polio-like conditions on its mostly child-aged victims — that can be caused by poliovirus — has reared its head in America, between 2014 and present day. Coincidentally, “there were 12.1 million immigrants living in the country illegally as of January 2014, according to the most recent from the Department of Homeland Security,” FactCheck.org reported.

Did all of those 12.1 million receive the proper vaccinations, in line with the proper CDC schedule?

We don’t know. Add to that backlash in recent years against vaccinations of U.S. citizens — the Hollywood types who’ve come out strong against vaccines, the whispers of government coverups of vaccine side-effects, the reports of Big Pharma’s too-tight ties with Big Government — and what results is an open door for disease.

“This is an emerging condition,” said Ryan Wozniak, the surveillance and investigation unit supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, where two cases of the disease were just confirmed, News 3 in Madison reported. “We’re still trying to learn a lot about it.”

For the sake of America’s children, America’s citizens, let’s hope it’s the doctors, not the bureaucrats, who are truly leading the learning charge.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.


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