Yes, the BMJ, formally the British Medical Journal, just published a piece, Are injections part of the “mystery” of acute flaccid myelitis/AFM? Is the CDC interested in finding out?
Those familiar with the BMJ understand that this is not a real editorial or article though.
It is one of their Rapid responses to another article – basically a letter to the editor. Unfortunately, some folks use these Rapid responses as evidence for their anti-vaccine talking points and arguments.
The BMJ Asks If Injections Are Part of the “Mystery” of Acute Flaccid Myelitis/AFM…
The AFM patient summary form asks for a vaccination record and current studies have found no association with recent vaccines.
“They also say that they are continuing to investigate the possibility of an association, but the AFM Patient Summary Forms that they supply to US state health departments contain no questions about injections or vaccinations.”
Allan S. Cunningham on Are injections part of the “mystery” of acute flaccid myelitis/AFM? Is the CDC interested in finding out?
“According to patients’ vaccination records, all but one had been vaccinated according to Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations. The median interval between receipt of the last vaccination and onset of neurologic symptoms was 1.9 years (range = approximately 2 months–7 years).”
Acute Flaccid Myelitis Among Children — Washington, September–November 2016
It is well known that you can very rarely develop polio after being vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine.
VAPP or vaccine-associated paralytic polio are cases of polio that are actually caused by the polio vaccine. That’s why many countries switch over to the inactivated form of the polio vaccine once polio is under good control.
But can you get polio after an injection?
What is Provocation Polio?
You are probably thinking, sure, if the injection is full of live polio virus, right?
But this is actually the idea behind provocation polio.
No, the injection doesn’t give you polio, but if you are already infected with polio, the idea is that getting an injection could be a risk factor for developing paralytic polio.
“Provocation poliomyelitis describes the enhanced risk of paralytic manifestations that follows injection in the 30 days preceding paralysis onset.”
Remember, most people with polio don’t actually have any symptoms, although some do have flu-like symptoms. And fewer than 1% develop paralysis or weakness when they have polio. Although that doesn’t sound like a lot, during a polio epidemic, when a lot of kids are getting polio, the cases of paralytic polio quickly add up.
What else can provoke paralytic polio?
strenuous exercise (paralytic polio)
tonsillectomy (bulbar polio)
So how does an injection provoke paralytic polio?
“Skeletal muscle injury induces retrograde axonal transport of poliovirus and thereby facilitates viral invasion of the central nervous system and the progression of spinal cord damage.”
Gromeier et al on Mechanism of Injury-Provoked Poliomyelitis
Injury to a muscle by the needle is thought to have allowed the polio virus to move through the nerves in the area to the spinal cord, as long as the polio virus was already in their blood. How do we know it was the needle and not the vaccine itself? In experiments, they injected saline, and not an actual vaccine.
Is this how everyone developed paralytic polio?
Remember, kids didn’t get many vaccines around the time we were seeing polio outbreaks in the 1940s and 50s, although other injections, like penicillin were also thought to provoke paralytic polio.
Why were they getting penicillin? Often to treat congenital syphilis.
And although they went so far as to delay vaccines during outbreaks and to not do tonsillectomies during the summer, when polio outbreaks were more common, kids still got paralytic polio.
Could Provocation AFM Be a Thing?
Have you guessed why some folks are talking about provocation polio again, even though we are on the verge of eradicating polio?
“Seizing on a 2014 historical perspective piece on a phenomenon known as “polio provocation” in the highly respected medical journal, The Lancet, anti-vaccine forces have attempted to link the recent AFM cases (as they attempt to do with many other medical occurrences) to childhood vaccinations.”
Dr. Amesh Adalja on Clusters of polio-like illness in the US not a cause for panic
“…is there any relationship between vaccination status and a developing acute flaccid myelitis? Meaning, are vaccines a risk factor? And the data so far says no, the overwhelming number of children who have gotten AFM have had no recent vaccination of any kind or vaccine exposure. These cases over these years have been happening before flu season and flu vaccination starts, which is one of the questions that comes up, and there hasn’t been any pattern to vaccine exposure of any kind in developing AFM. So far, we have not found a link between the two.”
Benjamin Greenberg, MD on 2018 Podcast on Acute Flaccid Myelitis
For vaccines to provoke AFM, you would have to have gotten a recent vaccine.
We aren’t seeing that and anything else all of the kids with AFM had in common that might provoke paralysis, like acupuncture, cupping, or dry needling, would likely have come out in epidemiological reports.
Breaking News – 158 cases of AFM in 36 states have been confirmed so far this year, with an additional 153 cases under investigation.
Since 2014, we have seen several outbreaks of acute flaccid paralysis (the sudden onset of weakness in one or more arms or legs) across the United States.
We don’t know, except we do know that these folks don’t have polio, even though folks continue to get confused because the kids are described as having a “polio-like” disease. Every case undergoes extensive testing, including testing for polio and other viral infections.
Do Vaccines Cause Acute Flaccid Myelitis?
Tragically, like some other conditions of unknown cause, some people have grasped onto the idea that AFP could be caused by vaccines.
“Of 14 patients with available information, 12 had previously received polio vaccine; one child and one adult were unvaccinated because of personal belief exemptions.”
Acute Flaccid Paralysis with Anterior Myelitis — California, June 2012–June 2014
It shouldn’t be surprising that there is absolutely no evidence that this is any type of vaccine injury.
Of nearly 350 cases of the acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), or the subtype of AFP that we have been seeing since 2014, we know that:
most cases occur in children
they have a magnetic resonance image (MRI) showing spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter and spanning one or more vertebral segments
AFM can be caused by viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders, although no common etiology has been found in recent cases
cases are occurring sporadically – after 120 cases in 34 states in 2014, there were only 24 cases in 17 states in 2015, but then 149 cases in 39 states in 2016 and 33 cases in 16 states in 2017. And there have been at least 62 cases in 22 states in 2018.
most cases occur in the late summer and early fall
most had symptoms of a preceding viral illness, including respiratory symptoms or diarrhea