The Research and the History: Smallpox and Polio

The success stories of more than a century and a half of vaccination history are being increasingly re-examined, in part, because of the autism epidemic. Among the known factors that can produce such an epidemic are toxins, disease agents, and their interactions. As pointed out by Dr. Urnovitz in his recorded congressional testimony in 1999, one of the sources for such agents that needs to be most closely studied is vaccines. With that in mind, there are three main points to be examined in this post:

(1) The time trend data regarding the autism epidemic shows a growth curve accelerating in the 1980s through the 1990s and into the present.

(2) The smallpox history shows a different picture than is generally portrayed to the public, any yet, the little known historical record is well-documented.

(3) The polio history also needs to re-examined with respect to cancer producing disease agents from monkeys that came into the human population, almost certainly, through polio vaccines.

  • The time trend for the autism epidemic is an accelerating growth curve. Here is an authoritative and complete survey of the data since the first diagnoses of autism. The trend continues (see Olmsted & Blaxill, 2010 and references in both that book and the following NIH article; also cited evidences in Oller & Oller, 2010—both of these book references appear in earlier posts).

Blaxill, M. (2004). What’s going on? The question of time trends in autism. Public Health Report, Nov–Dec; 119(6), 536–551. doi: 10.1016/j.phr.2004.09.003. (An inevitable conclusion is that the rising incidence of autism diagnosis cannot be entirely attributed to genetic factors because of the rate of change in the number of cases beginning with the first 11 cases diagnosed by Leo Kanner in 1943. Nor, as argued extensively by Oller & Oller, 2010, can the autism epidemic be attributed to better diagnosis, diagnostic substitution, broadening of criteria, or some combination of these or other factors. From the best records, it appears that the growth  in autism cases accelerated the 1980s and 1990s and continues to do so. The clear implication is that toxins, disease agents, and their interactions must be involved. The question then is, where are the thousands of new cases coming from? What is causing them to appear?)

Oller, J. W., Jr., & Oller, S. D. (2010). Autism: The diagnosis, treatment, and etiology of the undeniable epidemic. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Olmsted, D. & Blaxill, M. (2010). The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

  • Smallpox vaccine has an interesting history of mandatory use in the UK that generalized to the US at least from about 1853. The historical record shows that in substantial populations that refused the vaccine, infectious diseases claimed fewer lives than in subpopulations where the vaccine was most used. If smallpox had been completely eradicated in 1977, why do American military personnel have to take smallpox vaccine now and why are we stockpiling 300 million doses of it? How is it possible, also, for the vaccine given to a soldier to infect his two year old son? (The point is that the deeper threat of smallpox itself has not been removed by the vaccine. Can it be guarded against by 300 million doses of vaccinia? What does the research show us?)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2007, May 18). Household transmission of vaccinia virus from contact with a military smallpox vaccine—Illinois and Indiana, 2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 56(19), 478-481. (There is a picture of the two-year-old child who was infected by his father’s vaccination at the linked web site.)

Biggs, J. T. (1910). Smallpox Leicester 1838–1910. (There are many other relevant statistics to be found at this linked site showing that smallpox and other diseases were more apt rather than less to infect and harm populations with higher uptake of the vaccinia virus from which we get the word “vaccine” and which formed the basis for the “smallpox” vaccine.)

Koch, W. F. (1961). The survival factor in neoplastic and viral diseases. Detroit, MI: Author. (Dr. Koch points out prior to the U. S. takeover of the Philippines, case mortality from smallpox was about 10%. By contrast, in 1918 and 1919 when more than 95% of Filipinos had been vaccinated as many as three times to protect against smallpox, the Philippines experienced the worst epidemic of smallpox ever recorded with a mortality rate of about 60%. Here also are his credentials.)

Reuters. (2008, 23 April). Acambis PLC-ACAM2000 U.S. Government Contract. RNS Number 90205. (Stockpiling “smallpox”vaccine is a costly reality.)

Alibek [alias Alibekov], K. (1998, May 20). Terrorist and intelligence operations: Potential impact on the U.S. economy. (Why did this defector come forward and why did the “outbreak” of a presumably weaponized variant of smallpox, compare also the anthrax attack of 2001, affect so few people? Consider the evidence concerning the 3 deaths from weaponized smallpox reported from the 1971 incident in Aralsk, as contrasted with the 133 confirmed deaths from polio vaccine not to mention the introduction of Simian viruses into the human population that have been linked to many cancers.)

  • Polio vaccines also have an interesting history. It is now widely believed that polio vaccines (Salk and Sabin) were the essential source of various cancer-linked viruses, especially Simian Virus 40 (SV40), that were introduced into the human population world-wide. (I repeat an Urnovitz reference from an earlier post because of his importance as a distinguished researcher in virology and especially because of his work with retroviruses. Urnovitz has testified and argued in the technical literature that the polio vaccines were the source of SV40 and other monkey viruses in humans.) The links of SV40, one of three well-known polyoma (cancer) viruses— the term “polyoma” means and calls attention to the fact that such viruses are believed to be causal factors in many cancers—are pervasive in the scientific literature. A search of the Web of Knowledge on today’s date (January 20, 2011) for “SV40 AND cancer” yielded 1,526 hits. The CDC, incidentally, acknowledges that polio vaccines were contaminated with monkey viruses, including SV40, but contends that the contamination was not very harmful. Links with cancers, however, are pervasive in the literature.

Sweet, B.H. & Hilleman, M.R. (1960). The vacuolating virus, S.V.40, 105 Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 420, 420–27.

Urnovitz, H. B., & Murphy, W. H. (1996). Human endogenous retroviruses: Nature, occurrence, and clinical implications in human disease. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 9(1), 72-99. [Here in the link, I have given the whole pdf version of the paper. Also see his testimony before the Congressional Committee on Government Reform and Oversight on August 3, 1999.]

White, M. K., Gordon, J., Reiss, K., Del Valle, L., Croul, S., Giordano, A., et al. (2005). Human polyomaviruses and brain tumors. Brain Research Reviews, 50(1), 69–85.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2007, October 22). Frequently asked questions about cancer, simian virus 40 (SV40), and polio vaccine.

DeCaprio, J. A. (2009, February 20).  How the Rb tumor suppressor structure and function was revealed by the study of Adenovirus and SV40. Virology, 384(2), Special Issue, 274-284.

The polio story is complicated by the fact that paralyzing polio has, as was pointed out in a previous post, a close association with DDT and persistent pesticides while it has a tenuous association with polio viruses (which many persons carry but few express in disease symptoms). The research by Jim West, as well as a series of toxicology studies (see his web site), strongly suggest that polio involves neurological poisoning. When the offensive pesticides were discontinued in household sprays, in treating foods, etc., even before the polio vaccines were introduced (see the figure in a prior post), the polio epidemics in the US also were halted.

On the one hand, all this took place prior to the introduction of the polio vaccines. On the other hand, the polio vaccines brought a whole new set of problems, both the Salk and the Sabin. Among them was the fact that the Sabin vaccine was blamed for 133 cases of polio between 1980 and 1994 (according to Trevelyan, Smallman-Raynor,  & Cliff, 2005), and prior to that time the Salk vaccine was not the success hoped for. An article in Time (May 30, 1955) commented:

In retrospect, . . . years of publicity, had built up the danger of polio out of all proportion to its actual incidence and had rushed into vaccinations this year with patently insufficient preparation.

The actual history of vaccines is not the one usually portrayed by the media or in the textbooks used in schools. The Simian viruses contaminating the polio vaccines were widely distributed to human populations world-wide and the supposed smallpox vaccine success story is inconsistent with the historical record.

Clearly, a  closer examination of the history of vaccines is needed (see Oller & Oller, 2010).


About johnwollerjrontheautismepidemic

As a research professor with 16 peer-reviewed books and more than 230 peer-reviewed articles ranging across disciplines I deal with the most abstract, comprehensive, and consistent theory as well as empirical studies of language and communication. This blog is about the autism epidemic. My goal is to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of communication disorders in general as well as related disorders, disease conditions, and injuries. Causal factors in autism are also involved in many other disorders. By understanding how such factors impact biological control systems from DNA to the unique human language capacity, many former mysteries will also be solved. I do and have worked with researchers around the world and with various organizations including the Autism Society of Acadiana, the Sertoma Club of Lafayette, and Sertoma International. Any errors on this site are my own. I aim to avoid "expert opinions" in favor of sound theory and research. "Experts" are, by definition, merely persons whose opinions differ from those of other "experts." My aim is to pursue the facts, not mere opinions.
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