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Old 2nd April 2019, 12:13 PM   #1
The Atheist
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Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Described by the acronym AFM, this disease is both interesting and terrifying - I've been seeing stories on it for a couple of years now. It appears to be related to polio, it comes with polio-like symptoms and in an odd twist, seems to come around every second autumn. Data for the past four years shows how odd the distribution has been. The doubling of cases in 2018 is hopefully down to better diagnosis and not growth of the disease itself.

CDC is investigating with speed, but to date no direct cause has been proven.

Given that polio was around for hundreds or thousands of years before causing epidemics, the similarities with AFM & polio have the medical world in a bit of a spin. It could easily be the case that vastly more kids have been infected with the same virus, but are asymptomatic. Since the cause is unknown, it's not possible to test that idea at the moment, although the idea seems logical in the face of only 0.5% of polio infections resulting in serious disease.

Autumn 2019 is awaited with interest to see if it conforms with the biennial nature to date.
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Old 6th April 2019, 01:31 AM   #2
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Thanks!

Please revive this thread when the autumn 2019 figures come in.
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Old 6th April 2019, 02:07 AM   #3
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Oh let’s hope this does not become endemic. I remember the fear of polio when I was a child and know people who died early as a consequence. Unlike other diseases, polio is far from eradicated and still kills people in Asia.
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Old 6th April 2019, 05:14 AM   #4
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Yes, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also in Africa: http://polioeradication.org/polio-to...now/this-week/
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Old 6th April 2019, 06:18 AM   #5
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My wife was an administrator of the WHO Polio Eradication Programme in Europe, and at the time Europe was declared Polio-free in 2002 it seemed like the wide eradication was not far off.

But the wars in Afghanistan and in the Congo made that last bit difficult, and then came the active distrust of religious fanatics on top of the lack of education that made the project nearly impossible.

Today, health workers are not merely threatened, but are shot together with their bodyguards, and it is a miracle that they are still working in endangered areas.

I can only imagine that if a vaccine is developed for AFM, it will be even more difficult to use. There is also the problem that too few people contract active AFM, so that money and interest will be low. I cannot see the WHO and all the world's governments and charities chipping in like they did for poliomyelitis.

But then, if it mutates and becomes epidemic, things can change.
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Old 6th April 2019, 07:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
My wife was an administrator of the WHO Polio Eradication Programme in Europe, and at the time Europe was declared Polio-free in 2002 it seemed like the wide eradication was not far off.

But the wars in Afghanistan and in the Congo made that last bit difficult, and then came the active distrust of religious fanatics on top of the lack of education that made the project nearly impossible.

Today, health workers are not merely threatened, but are shot together with their bodyguards, and it is a miracle that they are still working in endangered areas.

Another proud, downstream child of the anti-vax crusade.
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Old 6th April 2019, 11:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Another proud, downstream child of the anti-vax crusade.
I am not sure that the opposition to polio vaccinations has anything to do with the Western anti-vax movement. First of all, it is driven by political forces like Boko Haram, or Pakistani jihadists. Fake news have been spread that the vaccine contains agents that cause infertility in order to reduce the Muslim population. Secondly, there have been cases where incompetence, or even corruption has caused inactive vaccine (that has not been cold-stored) to be issued, and thirdly, there has been a case where live vaccine has gone feral and caused polio (and another where lab virus had escaped), which is just what the propagandists want to hear.
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Old 7th April 2019, 04:42 AM   #8
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Cases like this don't help: How the CIA’s Fake Vaccination Campaign Endangers Us All (Scientific American, May 2013):

Quote:
In its zeal to identify bin Laden or his family, the CIA used a sham hepatitis B vaccination project to collect DNA in the neighborhood where he was hiding. The effort apparently failed, but the violation of trust threatens to set back global public health efforts by decades.
(...)
The deadly consequences have already begun. Villagers along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border chased off legitimate vaccine workers, accusing them of being spies. Taliban commanders banned polio vaccinations in parts of Pakistan, specifically citing the bin Laden ruse as justification. Then, last December, nine vaccine workers were murdered in Pakistan, eventually prompting the United Nations to withdraw its vaccination teams. Two months later gunmen killed 10 polio workers in Nigeria—a sign that the violence against vaccinators may be spreading.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 7th April 2019, 06:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Cases like this don't help: How the CIA’s Fake Vaccination Campaign Endangers Us All (Scientific American, May 2013):
Argh, yes, I remember. That action was catastrophic, and the consequences came immediately.

All vaccinations are under attack, literally. Just last week a whole team of Ebola workers were butchered in the war-torn Congo, because the militias there were convinced they had come spread disease, not prevent it. And the common people too have the same opinion, and fear of the doctors and nurses in "space suits". Ebola is not like AFM, or Polio, where it can justifiably be said that the poor inhabitants have bigger problems to deal with. Ebola is literally able to destroy their society, and people still do not trust doctors when they bring a new vaccine.
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Old 7th April 2019, 07:16 AM   #10
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Some doctors probably stand a much better chance of gaining the trust of the locals - in particular in Congo - not least because the locals have more reason to trust them! They did a marvelous job last time:

Quote:
“We need a 20-fold resource mobilisation,” he said. “We need at least a 20-fold surge in assistance – mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities.”
But big hitters such as China or Brazil, or former colonial powers such France and the UK, have not been stepping up to the plate. Instead, the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline has been a small island: Cuba.
That a nation of 11 million people, with a GDP of $6,051 per capita, is leading the effort says much of the international response. A brigade of 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone last week, the first batch of a total of 461. In sharp contrast, western governments have appeared more focused on stopping the epidemic at their borders than actually stemming it in west Africa.
(...)
The island nation began forging links with the continent during the 1960s, when Cuban soldiers fought alongside southern Africa’s liberation fighters.
(...)
Ties deepened in the 1970s as Africa’s newly independent nations flirted with socialism, and aligned themselves with the communist state who opposed their former colonial rulers. Teachers, doctors and soldiers from Cuba poured into 17 African countries.
Today, fading signposts with Spanish street names, peeling posters with improbable slogans (“Viva la revolución siempre!” – long live the revolution, always – says one in Freetown) and a love of salsa music remain across much of west Africa.
Cuba leads fight against Ebola in Africa as west frets about border security (The Guardian, Oct. 12, 2014)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 7th April 2019, 11:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Some doctors probably stand a much better chance of gaining the trust of the locals - in particular in Congo - not least because the locals have more reason to trust them! They did a marvelous job last time:
Sorry to be a party-pooper, but vaccination has nothing to do with this thread, which I'd like to keep clear for information and discussion on AFM.

Thanks.
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