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Old 26 February 2013, 06:13 AM
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Default Vaccines didn't end polio in the US?

I was reading some anti-vaccination forums because I get curious about the "other side." (Sometimes I read Bigfoot forums too.) I stumbled across a conspiracy theory that I've never heard before: The polio vaccine did not end polio in the US. I began Googling around for more information - of course, I couldn't find anything resembling an actual article. It seems like this rumor is being spread in the form of forum posts and extremely disorganized websites.

There seem to be various stories going around. Some say that polio rates decreased in the US only due to improved sanitation and decreased use of chemicals like DDT, and the vaccine had nothing to do with it. Some say that polio rates only appeared to decline because the diagnostic criteria for the disease changed. Some also assert that the polio vaccine causes diseases similar to polio, or possibly chronic fatigue syndrome.

Has anyone else encountered this particular urban legend? I'm curious about where it came from and the various forms it's taken over time.

If you're interested in some badly formatted and confusing websites:

Polio Was NOT Eradicated by the Vaccine

Hiding Polio
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  #2  
Old 26 February 2013, 06:15 AM
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I haven't encountered this UL. Nor have I encountered anyone who got Polio after getting the vaccine.

ETA: Oh, and not to dismiss the suffering of those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I'd take that over POLIO any day. I mean, really.
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Old 26 February 2013, 06:24 AM
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That website is full of baldly stated 'facts' that are blatantly false, misleading and ridiculous. But no one is going to change the mind of the anti vaxxers or open their minds to the truth. If they were old enough to remember what it was like to have seen people with polio (I am and also old enough to know we did have clean, potable, not potent for heaves sake, water and adequate sanitation) maybe they would be less vocal in their resistance to vaccinations. This is a particular hobby horse of mine since one of those victims was my best friend. I still hate to remember seeing her so helpless and in an iron lung. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
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Old 26 February 2013, 05:16 PM
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I'm wondering how they could think that DDT stopped polio.
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Old 26 February 2013, 05:20 PM
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The OP says they think that decreased use of DDT stopped polio, IOW that DDT caused polio, which is equally stupid, and maybe even stupider. People were getting poliio long before DDT existed.

And how bad do they think sanitation was in the US before the mid-1950s?

ETA: Oh ye gods I made the mistake of clicking on the first link. The writer seems to think that anyone who isn't hooked up to a city sewer doesn't have proper sanitation, which is simply not true. And as for this:

Quote:
I remember seeing signs which read "No Swimming due to Polio" in Alpine NJ along beaches on the Hudson River. The Hudson was notorious for having raw sewage enter it.
Maybe so, but public pools were also routinely closed during polio outbreaks. Was raw sewage being dumped into them, too?

Last edited by Lainie; 26 February 2013 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 26 February 2013, 05:48 PM
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Unsurprisingly, the anti-vaccers have their chronology wrong and their causology backwards: significant improvements in sanitation in the US began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and are believed to have resulted in the increase in polio cases:

Quote:
Prior to the 20th century, virtually all children were infected with PV while still protected by maternal antibodies. In the 1900s, following the industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, improved sanitation practices led to an increase in the age at which children first encountered the virus, such that at exposure children were no longer protected by maternal antibodies. Consequently, epidemics of poliomyelitis surfaced . [2]
Link
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Old 26 February 2013, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veruca View Post
Some also assert that the polio vaccine causes diseases similar to polio, or possibly chronic fatigue syndrome.

Has anyone else encountered this particular urban legend? I'm curious about where it came from and the various forms it's taken over time.
Among anti-vaccination nuts it's pretty common to claim that vaccines are either totally useless or actually cause illnesses. Most of the people who propitiate that stuff have both a distrust for government authority and total lack of historical perspective.

In the 1950s that it was some sort of communist conspiracy to do......something.

In the 1970s it was a religious thing, if your religion opposed vaccination than who was the government to force you to?

Now that we are a few generations away from the folks who saw polio as a common thing and than watched it disappear as kids were vaccinated the conspiracy nuts try to rewrite history.

Somebody once said that the irony of vaccines & the ULs surrounding them is that it's because vaccines work. It's really easy for somebody of our generation, who's never seen polio, measles, ect to say "this is all a bunch of nonsense that the government/NWO/UN/ect cooked up to make us afraid."
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Old 26 February 2013, 07:05 PM
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This article comes to mind: We were hippies about it

Quote:
Alijah was hospitalised with tetanus late last year; something he should have been immunised against, something Williams and his wife Linda decided not to do.

It was a painful lesson. They watched as seven-year-old Alijah spent three weeks in hospital, his body violently and painfully convulsing as tetanus attacked his nervous system. "When it came to my kid's health, I let the hippy win. I should have let the science win."
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  #9  
Old 26 February 2013, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
Somebody once said that the irony of vaccines & the ULs surrounding them is that it's because vaccines work. It's really easy for somebody of our generation, who's never seen polio, measles, ect to say "this is all a bunch of nonsense that the government/NWO/UN/ect cooked up to make us afraid."
I have seen that in several sources. Basically, we did our job too well, and now there is a subset of people out there that, because they have never seen it, do not believe it.
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Old 26 February 2013, 07:29 PM
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I learned about things that happened before I was born, from the perspective of those who lived through them, by talking to my parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc. Apparently that's not as common an experience as I would have guessed.
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Old 26 February 2013, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I learned about things that happened before I was born, from the perspective of those who lived through them, by talking to my parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc. Apparently that's not as common an experience as I would have guessed.
I think you are right.

I know that my mom had multiple kids in the '50's and '60' but grew up before vaccines. When she was little she new families and friends that came down with polio and other serious illnesses that were all but eliminated by vaccines by the time she had kids. My dad had a brother that contracted Polio in the Army during WWII. Both think the vaccines were one of the greatest inventions of all time.

I wonder, would Jenny McCarthy's mom be too young to remember per-vaccination days? Is Jenny 3rd or 4th generation post invention of vaccines?
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Old 26 February 2013, 08:04 PM
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I have to agree. I am old enough to be among the first to get the polio vaccine in school as a mass vaccination. I think we had it on sugar cubes, but I could be wrong[no vaccine yet for Alzheimer's].
I have had mumps/measles/chicken pox (the last two at the same time--the blotches do look different). I think that the absence of these disease does make it hard for people to understand how well vaccines work. Or the problems caused by getting these diseases. I have had to put up with cold sores since my chicken pox, and I keep hearing the ads about getting shingles, as a result of my earlier herpes infection. A vaccine would have been good.

Ali
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Old 26 February 2013, 08:22 PM
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After my mom died, I found the pic she or my dad took of me when I the mumps and chickenpox concurrently. You can't see the chickenpox, but the mumps is clearly obvious. I want to scan that photo, and a photo of myself healthy at about the same age, and post them together on Facebook.

As a child, I hated that photo because I thought I looked fat. As an adult, not having seen a child with mumps in the intervening years, I'm appalled at how swollen my face and neck were. I don't remember how I felt at the time, but I must have been miserable.
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Old 26 February 2013, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I haven't encountered this UL. Nor have I encountered anyone who got Polio after getting the vaccine.

ETA: Oh, and not to dismiss the suffering of those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I'd take that over POLIO any day. I mean, really.
I have a vague recollection (I was three or four) of being piled into a car full of other kids* and being taken to get the polio vaccine, which had just become generally available.

I had friends only slightly older than I was who were polio survivors.

I remember, some years ago, meeting a somewhat younger woman who was diabetic, and announced this loudly on first meeting as if it were the only or at least the most important thing about her. She blamed her diabetes on the polio vaccine.

Not only is there no evidence I've ever seen for this theory (this being considerably pre-Internet I was in no position to either demand or provide cites on the spot), but my reaction was: even if it were true, my father was diabetic for much of his life; and I had friends who'd survived polio. While I definitely didn't and don't want to get either of those diseases, if I absolutely had to pick one, I'd take the diabetes without thinking twice.



*I'm sure our risk was considerably greater from the potential for a car accident than it was from the vaccine. It was routine to jam as many kids in the car as would more or less fit; seatbelts and car seats were unheard of.
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Old 26 February 2013, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I learned about things that happened before I was born, from the perspective of those who lived through them, by talking to my parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc. Apparently that's not as common an experience as I would have guessed.
It was a wise man who once remarked, "human beings, while almost unique in their ability to learn from the experiences* of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

(*Actually, I think he said "mistakes," not "experiences," but whatever.)
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  #16  
Old 26 February 2013, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
some also assert that the polio vaccine causes diseases similar to polio,
It's homoeopathic then?
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Old 27 February 2013, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
This article comes to mind: We were hippies about it
While reading this article, I was reminded of a talk I went to recently regarding anti-vaccination sentiment (aimed mostly at children's health providers). The speaker pointed out that while most scientific websites and resources use the term immunisation, the anti-vaxx websites are more likely to use the term vaccination. Thus, the general public, who is more apt to use the term "vaccination" is more likely to run across unscientific anti material, especially when using Google. (I just tried searching both terms - while most hits were government websites and news articles, googling "vaccination" resulted in an anti website as the third hit, while "immunisation" contained none on the first page.
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Old 27 February 2013, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
As a child, I hated that photo because I thought I looked fat. As an adult, not having seen a child with mumps in the intervening years, I'm appalled at how swollen my face and neck were. I don't remember how I felt at the time, but I must have been miserable.
I remember having mumps. I was truly, truly miserable.

My father's brother died of polio in 1949. Apparently when my grandmother was in her final few months with Alzheimer's she kept asking where he was and going through his death again.
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Old 27 February 2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
After my mom died, I found the pic she or my dad took of me when I the mumps and chickenpox concurrently. You can't see the chickenpox, but the mumps is clearly obvious. I want to scan that photo, and a photo of myself healthy at about the same age, and post them together on Facebook.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali Infree View Post
I have had mumps/measles/chicken pox (the last two at the same time--the blotches do look differentAli
I thought I was the only one. I remember having two (or was it three) of the "poxy" dieasese and the same time. I can't remember which ones it was but at a guess I was german measles and chicken pox (and maybe mumps). It wasn't fun. Strangely enough I never got straight measles.

Does the snopes page have some sort of pox diease?

Last edited by Dasla; 27 February 2013 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 27 February 2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veruca View Post
Some also assert that the polio vaccine causes diseases similar to polio, or possibly chronic fatigue syndrome.
The live, attenuated polio vaccine (the Sabin vaccine) can rarely lead to polio (wikipedia links to a cite that says 1 in 750,000 cases, more if immunocompromised). The greater protection it provides is worth it with an area with a lot of polio, but in areas like the US that actually would do more harm than good. So the killed (Salk) vaccine is given here instead now, and cannot cause polio.
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