Although medicine has always pointed to polio as proof that vaccination works, worrying new findings from Romania indicate that the vaccine is actually causing outbreaks of the disease.
The outbreaks have been occurring for the past 20 years in Romania; cases have been up to 17 times higher there than any other European country.
Scientists at first blamed it on the locally produced vaccine, but the rate continued even after the introduction of the vaccine used in other European countries.
Researchers studied the cases of 31 children paralyzed after receiving the vaccine. While the vaccine, given by injection, semed to trigger the paralysis, researchers also discovered that the children had been exposed to a large number of other vaccinations in the months leading up to the illness. Most injections were of antibiotics, particularly multiple doses of short acting penicillin G to treat respiratory illness.
Researchers fear that the cases may have been caused by an overuse of unnecessary injections, which had a cumulative effect. Even a 30 day interval between vaccinations might have reduced the level of polio in Romania by a factor of 10, in fact to the low rate experienced in other Western countries. Isolated cases of polio are still reported following vaccination because a live attenuated virus is usually given orally, which can cause paralysis in rare cases.
!ANEJM, February 23, 1995.