Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Baffles Doctors in California

February 24, 2014 22:12 pm · 33 comments

A mysterious polio-like syndrome has affected as many as 25 California children, leaving them with paralyzed limbs and little hope of recovery.

“What’s we’re seeing now is bad. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. It’s like the old polio,” said Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto.

The first known case appeared in 2012. Sofia Jarvis in Berkeley began to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing. The 2-year-old spent days in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital. Doctors thought she had asthma.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE & READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT (video & story are different, so read/watch both).

EdiBirsan February 24, 2014 at 10:36 PM

This scares the hell out of me. As a Rotarian, we have worked world wide to remove polio and success followed with only three countries left: Pakistan-Afghanastan-Nigeria. The thought that polio MAY have mutated brings back memories from when I was a child when polio was the big fear.

Dr.Dolittle February 24, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Would not be surprised if it was an over the counter medicine the parents gave during the illness. So many bad products out there with bad side effects.
Our own Veterans could have brought the virus it back from War.

mutts February 24, 2014 at 10:50 PM

Unchecked diversity, relaxed immigration laws, what does everyone expect? Duh

2 cents Worth February 25, 2014 at 1:14 AM

What the Hell is going on, when we can Not even protect OUR Children!! We have the Best Doctors around the World!! Calling on ALL Doctors and Scientist to work together and work fast to find out the cause and fix this NOW!!!

Art February 25, 2014 at 2:05 AM

Racist people like you are the problem. Role Model you are.
All of you breeders need to to a medical history before you start droppin kids.
Any genetic traits that are passed on should be considered child abuse.
The pool is shallow people stop jumping in.
You know how when you make a copy of a copy, it’s not as sharp.

Atticus Thraxx February 25, 2014 at 6:08 AM

Oh good. Another thing to worry about.

I predict February 25, 2014 at 6:12 AM

They will eventually tie birth control chemicals
to conditions such as autism, as they recently
tied Tylenol ( acetomenophen) to A.D.D. in
Children. There are cases pending against “Yaz”,
a birth control drug that was on T.V. Constantly
several years back. We have been guinea pigs
for drug companies for decades, research thalidomide
in the fifties.

Fukushima February 25, 2014 at 7:09 AM

The first noticeable effects of radiation that has made its way to the west coast after the Fukushima melt down in 2010.

This nuclear plant continues to dump massive amounts of radiation into our one shared ocean.

Connie Dobbs February 25, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Vaccinate your babies, people.

The Mamba February 25, 2014 at 7:51 AM

This is really terrifying and there doesn’t seem to be much information about it yet. Why is it only in California? Is it contagious? What should we be looking for?

mutts February 25, 2014 at 8:33 AM

There you go, Art. Typical name calling. We used to have stricter immigration laws so viruses wouldn’t be easily brought in. T B problems, whooping cough, now this. Facts don’t mean racism. I’m not racist, just a realist. I agree it could be meds, even radiation from that meltdown which happened…gasp.. in Japan. Vaccines have been proven to cause serious health problems in kids.

Connie is probably right February 25, 2014 at 8:53 AM

People aren’t vaccinating their kids any more. Frankly, one of “mutts” points may have some validity too. People from unvaccinated parts of the world can pretty much come in/out unchecked.

Nice Nancy February 25, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Connie: All of these children were vaccinated. My daughter became deathly ill and had to be hospitalized after the MMR. She then contracted Chicken Pox after receiving the Chicken Pox vaccination. (which most of us had) I refuse to let her get the Gardasil vaccine. Gardasil is one of the most deadly vaccinations ever pushed on young children. Gardasil has already been linked to more than 49 deaths and thousands of negative reactions.

KAD February 25, 2014 at 9:16 AM

I am really worried now. Our beautiful 3 year old grandchild has been in the emergency room twice in the past year with respiratory issues that were diagnosed as asthma.

tired of taxes February 25, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Yup start vaccinating your children. That’s the answer alright.
Some people just refuse to take the time to even read what’s up with the story. Stupid is as stupid does.

You can lead a horse to water but an ass will refuse to drink.

Doc Savage February 25, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I don’t mean to be rude, but a lot of you people are really ignorant. You’re typing on the internet. Why don’t you use same to do some research. Poliomyelitis (a.k.a. polio) is a virus. If the symptoms being observed are from a polio-like virus, then yes, it’s contagious. The route of transmission for polio is mainly fecal-oral (i.e. your butt to my mouth) and this often happened in public pools, hence their closure during the last outbreak.

Little is known about the cause of the symptoms currently being reported, but if it’s a polio mutation (entirely possible) then it isn’t from OTC Rx like acetaminophen, or relaxed immigration laws. Although I guess the mutation could be from the Fukushima reactor leak, hmmm…. Anyways, stop freaking out people. 5 cases is nothing. Just keep other peoples poop out of your mouth. Oh and KAD, have your grandkid tested for entovirus 68.

Antler February 25, 2014 at 9:47 AM

TV reports are including the information that every one of the afflicted children had received polio vaccine. However, they are not saying how much time had passed prior to time that the children’s symptoms presented, nor are reporters even implying a cause and effect phenomenon. However, one can imagine that a frantic effort is being made to trace vaccine numbers just to be SURE.

JWB February 25, 2014 at 9:54 AM

@Nice Nancy

Can you cite a credible source for the statement you made that “Gardasil is one of the most deadly vaccinations ever pushed on young children.”

Just to be clear, I do not consider Jenny McCarthy or Michelle Bachmann a credible source for vaccine information.

Connie Dobbs February 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Actually, you do mean to be rude, and you’re really good at it.

About 90% of the time vaccinated children don’t become carriers of disease. Also, the baby shots wear off and a new round has to be given around age 6.

Connie Dobbs February 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

#18 Show Nancy your credible source that says Gardasil’s safe as milk.

Just to be clear, Merck & Co., the CDC and the AAP cannot be considered credible sources, not when Gardisil is a course of shots at $130 per.

anon February 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I saw the KGO broadcast last night. Their piece said that Stanford doctors said the illness was not Polio and that it was an Entero virus, among which Polio is one. The broadcast also stated that doctors believe the origin of this outbreak came from Asia and Austrailia.

Very, very sad that it is happening to anyone. Especially children. 🙁

Huh? February 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Connie telling someone “you’re rude.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

JWB February 25, 2014 at 11:30 AM

#20 do you want to show me where I said that “Gardasil is safe as milk”, as a matter of fact to you want to show me where I made any statement about the safety of Gardasil?

In contrast Nice Nancy made an affirmative statement about the safety of Gardasil and it certainly can’t be rude to ask for the source of that statment.

BTW your statement in #19 “About 90% of the time vaccinated children don’t become carriers of disease.” is factually wrong for polio vaccination.

There are 2 different polio vaccines, OPV or oral polio vaccine (aka Sabin) is the one you got maybe on a sugar cube or simply squirted in your mouth. This vaccine would prevent children from becoming carriers. The current vaccine used in US is IPV or inactivated polio vaccine (aka Salk), this vaccine you get by injection and does not prevent children from becoming carriers.


The Theorist February 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Seems the CDC is done with their “survey” .. did they pack up and go back to Washington to report their “findings”?
When the people work for the government inside of vice versa… bad things happen.

Mutt is right...crack down on those illegals February 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Common sense, people (i mean, um, rodents)

Illegal immigrants who do not get vaccinated properly are the problem. and we do have many very laxed laws when it comes to immunization tests for immigrants. Even those who are here “legally” – they can choose to delay getting vaccination shots for their kids and still enroll their offspring into our school system!!!!!!! Simple solution – no vaccination, no passage into America.

But i am so sure that most of you would rather have your kids share their food in the school cafeteria with other children right???

Silva February 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM

I thought that polio vaccine is inactivated cow pox, hence; it’s impossible to get polio from the polio vaccine.

Cowellian February 25, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Before we had vaccines, diseases like smallpox, whooping cough, and polio killed a lot of children in horrible ways.

JWB February 25, 2014 at 3:41 PM

@ Silva no actually the small pox vaccine is “probably’ cow pox at it is actually an attenuated live vaccine. It is called vaccinia and I say probably because its origin is not really known.

With respect to polio it is correct for that IPV vaccine is inactivated but not OPV. In some rare cases OPV can revert back and cause disease but generally even if mutated back disease is milder than wild type polio. OPV gives faster and better protection and prevents vaccinated children from becoming carriers of the virus. For that reason the WHO demands OPV in areas where there have been recent outbreaks of wildype polio but if it is thought that wild type polio no longer circulates in the population such as in the US, IPV is used because it is safer.

Useless Medical Clinics... February 25, 2014 at 4:57 PM

So if OPV is no longer being administered to children and its replacement is a useless injection is it fair to surmise that the medical establishment is to blame for letting polio spread through our society like wildfire??? I think so…

And i thought that doctors in this country were suppose to be smart….I am guessing that clinics are more concerned about saving a few dollars by eliminating OPV for worthless injections that dont do anything.

Good job, AMA!!!!!

JWB February 25, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Where do you get the idea that IPV is useless? It protects children from getting polio disease. Where do you get that polio is spreading through society like wildfire?
Polio is a virus which infects the gastrointestinal tract through the feco oral route or as #16 put it (i.e. your butt to my mouth). OPV creates immunity in the gut thus the polio virus can not replicate and children vaccinated with OPV will not be infected in their guts.

The actual disease Poliomyelitis is caused if the virus manages to enter the blood stream and from there manages to infect the central nervous system. IPV is designed to protect you from that event but is not as good as OPV from protection in the gut.

Because polio is NOT spreading through society like wildfire it is safer to use IPV rather than OPV because OPV actually in rare cases can cause the disease by mutating back to a less attenuated form.

@30 February 25, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Not true. there has been no causal linkage between OPV and the disease mutating back to a “less attenuated form”. OPV is actually a much safer form of vaccination for children, delivered orally as opposed to the cruel procedure of giving a needle injection to a 4 year old child.

As post #23 stated, the IPV form of vaccination does not prevent children form being carriers. OPV is more effective, but was discontinued in the US in 2000. It is used heavily in countries where the risk of polio transmission is high. If this recent outbreak in California continues to develop, it would be beneficial for the CDC to reconsider using OPV once again.

JWB February 26, 2014 at 5:04 AM

@ #31

This is from the CDC website:

VAPP is caused by reverting back to a more virulent form of the vaccine strrain

“A person is considered to be fully immunized if he or she has received a primary series of at least three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), or four doses of any combination of IPV and OPV. Until recently, the benefits of OPV use (i.e. intestinal immunity, secondary spread) outweighed the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) which occurred in one child out of every 2.4 million OPV doses distributed. To eliminate the risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP), as of January 1, 2000, OPV was no longer recommended for routine immunization in the United States. However, OPV continues to be used in the countries where polio is endemic or the risk of importation and transmission is high. OPV is recommended for global polio eradication activities in polio-endemic countries due to its advantages over IPV in providing intestinal immunity and providing secondary spread of the vaccine to unprotected contacts.”

Anon March 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM


Hippie “But my child might get some disease if I have them vaccinated”
Death “Sweet, more stupid parents!”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: