Thursday, November 07, 2013
5 hours ago
Mohammad Zaatari / AP
An outbreak of polio in eastern Syria that has paralyzed at least 10 children could spread to neighboring regions, including Europe — and in such a silent way that no one would know it for a year.
That’s a warning from two infectious disease experts in Germany, who say that large numbers of Syrian refugees now fleeing that conflict-torn country could settle in Europe, bringing the virus to places that have been polio-free for decades.
And it’s a worry echoed by U.S. polio experts, who say that countries around the world — including America — must be vigilant for signs of spread.
“The big issue is to assure that we have good surveillance to pick up polio as quickly as possible,” said. Dr. Walt Orenstein of Emory University, who has been working on eradicating polio for years. “As long as it circulates anywhere, it’s a risk everywhere.”
Because polio causes symptoms — including paralysis — in only about 1 of every 200 people infected, it has the potential to spread widely to others unnoticed, Dr. Martin Eichner of the University of Tubingen and Dr. Stefan Brockmann of the Reutlingen Regional Public Health Office in Germany wrote Thursday in a letter to the journal The Lancet.
“It might take … nearly 1 year of silent transmission before one acute flaccid paralysis case is identified and an outbreak is detected, although hundreds of individuals would carry the infection,” the experts wrote.
The situation will be exacerbated because most European countries, like the U.S., use inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV, rather than oral polio vaccine, or OPV, because the live-virus oral variety caused rare cases of paralysis in people who were vaccinated. While the IPV reduces transmission and protects well against paralysis, it only partially protects against infection, the experts warned.
In places with low vaccination coverage — including Bosnia, Herzegovina, Ukraine and Austria — there might not be enough widespread protection, known as “herd immunity," to prevent sustained transmission, they said.
“Vaccinating only Syrian refugees — as has been recommended by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control — must be judged as insufficient,” they wrote.
Only a handful of European member states allow use of OPV and none has a stockpile of the live vaccine, the authors note. The U.S. has used only IPV since 2000, after eradicating polio in America in 1979.
Polio is caused by a virus that spreads between people, but it can survive in water and sewage, too. The series of vaccines can protect people for life, but babies too young to have been vaccinated and children who don’t get the full dose can be infected.
The outbreak in Syria has paralyzed at least 10 children in the country’s Del al-Zour province. They’re all younger than 2 and may have gone unvaccinated because of the ongoing conflict that has now left half the population — an estimated 9 million people — homeless and starving.
It’s unclear how polio got back into Syria, which had eradicated the virus in 1999, though officials say this bout may have originated in Pakistan. Polio immunization rates fell from 91 percent in Syria in 2010 to 68 percent in 2012, largely because of the impact of conflict, the World Health Organization says.
Vaccination efforts are focusing on more than 2 million children in Syria, as well as in seven neighboring countries: Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt.
“Without a doubt, it can go wider, go beyond Syria’s borders,” said Sarah Crowe, spokeswoman for UNICEF. “Disease knows no borders.”
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the country to seek help in neighboring regions – and Europe. The German disease experts are calling for increased surveillance of sewage in settlements.
“I would agree with them, it is important to develop more use of environmental surveillance,” said Orenstein, the U.S. expert who spearheaded a global declaration by more than 400 scientists that an end to polio is possible.
In the U.S., imported cases of measles have sparked recent outbreaks of the disease, particularly in pockets of un-vaccinated children, raising the very real possibility that other infections could spread as well.
"Measles is your canary in the coal mine," Orenstein said. "It's much more contagious than polio. With polio, we have been fortunate, so far."
I was feeling particularly satisfied as Tea Baggers went down in Virginia no matter how close these elections were. Those know nothing dastardly doers of rancid policy especially toward women in Virginia are not going to wield their toxicity this time and perhaps, the Tea Baggers were sent a lesson. What is the lesson? To win a national presidential and even senatorial election in this country one cannot be an extremist of either the left or the right. We have seen Tea Baggers lose the Republican Party seats which cost them the majority in 2012 and could have helped that party take the Senate. Tea Baggers though ideological and radical will still not be deterred from running, turn their backs on the loyal opposition, refuse to even congratulate those who oppose them hence the “war” in the Republican Party between the moderate old guard and the radical uber right nationalists is raging. The nationalists will never get the Republican Party the presidency or even win the Senate and perhaps, HOPEFULLY, even lose the House in 2014.
Center stage Chris Christie billed as a moderate Republican centrist who can work well with kids on the other side of the isle after all his hand shaking and arms around the president which by a party and admission of one Tea Bagger that cannot even look at the president let alone put arms around him is proof of his Christie’s moderate stance. Christie would have the nation believe he is not one of those Baggers but a different Republican who can take center stage in his obvious catapult to the 2016 presidential nomination. He is now the chair of the Republican Governor’s Association which will pay for and take him to states all around the nation. I suspect he will get some exposure from that and not pay a personal dime. Christie is good at that after all. Christie is an act and the act will be exposed.
Chris Hayes of MSNBC had a wonderful exposure of the true Christie and urge you to Google his Wednesday evening show to listen why. Among many things of which Christie will have to account when running for national office is his less-than-Christian transparency about money not to mention his unwillingness when vetted by Romney for the VP slot to talk about his health according to John Heilman and Mark Halpern (in his new book and expose of the 2012 campaign entitled “Double Down”.)
Moreover, Chris Hayes showed how 1.2 billion of federal aid for Sandy relief for the state of New Jersey has never been received by lower and middle income people who were told they would get it as they filed the appropriate papers but a year later are living still in trailers. Hayes backed his assertions up by interviewing a woman expering just that and she is one of thousands! Christie has been less than transparent with the 1.2 billion Federal money for Sandy relief and worse no one really knows where all that money went. Where did it go? Christie will not tell. He managed though to get 15 million of it to build the deck that recently caught fire as the optics were oh so good on the national news doncha know. Add to Christie’s unpreparedness for in-state disasters and one wonders how he can now ride the ascending star on super storm Sandy to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, White House, Washington D.C.
25 million of Sandy relief money we know went for TV advertising showing Christie with nuclear family in tow touting how great he was getting people together in a hug circle except that another advertisement that could have been used that was 40% cheaper but was not used. Curiously, the cheaper advertisement did NOT include the governor and his family. If Governor Christie is in fact going to run for the presidency he's going to have a lot of splainin to do.
Chris Christie is not a different Republican he is the same old Tea Bag recycled Republican. Simply look at his record on the politically revelatory social issues. He is anti-choice and he is against marriage equality. According to the November 5, 2013 Los Angeles Times “Christie holds views on social issues that may isolate him from Democrats. He opposes abortion and has vetoed bills that would fund family-planning groups such as Planned Parenthood. His frequent vetoes of funding for family planning have led facilities to close, women’s groups say.” “Chris Christie likes playing a moderate on TV, but when one looks at what he’s actually done during his time in office it is clear that it is all just an act. He has targeted services New Jersey women and families rely on time and time again, and he’s proven he’s no less extreme than any of his fellow Republicans. You can only play a role for so long before people start catching on,” said Marcy Stech, a spokeswoman for Emily’s List.”
I thought the essence of being a good Christian, which Christie claims to be, is as enunciated by Pope Francis and that is to embrace a faith whose main emphasis should be as Christ instructed -- feeding the poor and caring for the least of those among us. Christie’s program of austerity and cuts for aid to the poor and education union busting have done nothing for the very groups about which Christianity is supposed to be. The economics of his state paint a dismal picture of Chris Christie’s leadership as governor.
I say take the Christ OUT of Chris Christie as he has the unmitigated gall to call himself something he is not!
WHEN I TELL YOU IT IS A MUST TO GET THIS RADICAL RIGHT WING ALBATROSS OFF OUR NECKS I AM NOT KIDDING. GET DEMOCRATS ELECTED IN 2014 AND KEEP THE SENATE. ANYTHING ELSE IS UNACCEPTABLE!