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June 2000

Short news items with a Post-Polio element gleaned from 'here, there and everywhere'. Contributions welcomed. Email newsbites@loncps.demon.co.uk. Please make it clear that your news item is for inclusion in NewsBites and include any source references.

28th June 2000

More cash for vaccine victims (U.K.)

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK BBC News Online (http://news.bbc.co.uk/) reports:

The compensation scheme to help children disabled after being given vaccines on the NHS is to be improved.

Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling announced the £60m package in the Commons on Tuesday following a review of the present compensation payment scheme.

The maximum payment will rise from £40,000 to £100,000.

Mr Darling said the current system under which claims had to be made within six years would be scrapped.

Instead, disabled people will be allowed to claim at any time up to the age of 21.

In addition, the "disability threshold" which people must cross before getting payments will be lowered from 80% to 60%.

People who have already received lump sums will receive top up payments ranging from £58,000 to £67,000.

Mr Darling said: "Nothing can make up for what has happened to these children, but we have a clear duty to support them and their families."

The Vaccine Damage Payment scheme was set up in 1979 to compensate babies who suffered mental and physical disability after being vaccinated against childhood diseases such as polio, whooping cough and measles.

Campaigners argued that the current scheme is now inadequate and has left many families suffering financial hardship.

The complete text of this news report from which the above is extracted can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/
hi/english/health/newsid_808000/808178.stm

For vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

Polio Survivor in the News: Zimbabwe farmer's widow claiming political asylum.

Tuesday 27th June 2000 13:20 Ananova News (http://www.ananova.com/) reports:

The widow of a white farmer murdered during Zimbabwe's land occupation crisis is claiming political asylum in the UK.

Cathy Olds and her two teenage children fled to Britain penniless after the killing in April and now believe it is unsafe to return to their 14,000-acre farm near Bulawayo, which the family had farmed for three generations.

Mrs Olds has spoken of her disappointment at the re-election of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which she claims was implicated in the murder of her husband Martin.

In an interview with the BBC, she said that cartridge cases found near Mr Olds' body came from Kalashnikov rifles similar to those used by the Zimbabwean government's intelligence service and army.

Police failed to respond to four calls for help as Mr Olds' farmhouse was besieged by some 120 squatters, ferried there in a fleet of minibuses, and an ambulance called after he was injured was held up at a roadblock, she said.

Mrs Olds, who walks on crutches following a childhood attack of polio, explained why she believed she could not return to Zimbabwe in safety: "After Martin's murder we were threatened, my phone was bugged, we were followed, we were watched, visitors who came to see us had car tyres slashed.

"We are not secure and I wouldn't want to go back."

Asked how she felt about the Zanu-PF victory, Mrs Olds said: "I am very disappointed. I worry for the whites and the rest of Zimbabwe."

The complete text of this news report can be found at http://www.ananova.com/
news/story/politics_uk-zimbabwe-asylum_10734.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

Polio Survivor in the News: Photographer tours small towns in search of interesting stories.

In an AP Member Exchange Feature at startribune.com Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune of Willmar reports:

HANLEY FALLS, Minn. (AP) -- Dave Morano has taken the old adage about every picture telling a story and turned it right on its head.

Every story gives him a picture.

Fortunately for Yellow Medicine County, he'll be getting all sorts of stories and pictures in the weeks ahead.

Morano, an associate professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is hobnobbing about the towns of Yellow Medicine County this summer. He's being introduced on his visits by Mavis Gustafson, curator of Minnesota's Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls.

Camera and notepad in hand, the award-winning photographer asks only for the chance to meet with the locals, hear their stories and snap their pictures.

"You always hear that small-town people are really private, that they will never talk. But actually, when you do it, they want to talk because nobody has ever asked them about their lives," said Morano.

"They will tell you the most amazing stories."

Their amazing stories become art in Morano's hands. He captures his subjects on black-and-white film. He accompanies each of the individual portraits with a short write-up about the subject' s personal story.

Amongst a number of Morano's subjects profiled in the article is Curt Warnke.

In the small town of Wood Lake, the magic happened while he [Morano] talked to Curt Warnke, a retired newspaper publisher who still runs a small fishing tackle store.

Polio put Warnke in a wheelchair for most of his adult life, but it didn't keep him from telling Morano about his exploits as a young athlete in the 1940s.

World War II had put football on hold in Wood Lake until the town's coach could return from his military service. As Warnke told Morano how he played in the big football game that marked the return of the local coach, a friend dropped by. He brought a picture of the team taken at that very game.

Morano captured the story, the man and team picture on film.

The complete text of this news report from which the above is extracted can be found at http://www2.startribune.com/
stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=82013600

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

27th June 2000

Vaccine Victims Support Group (U.K.) to meet with MP's.

The Vaccine Victims Support Group will be meeting outside the Departments of Health and Social Services tomorrow (Wednesday 28th June) at 2.00pm to press for a proper vaccine compensation scheme for the children who have been severely damaged by the vaccination program. They will then be marching on to St. Stephens Gate and will have a meeting with MP's in the Grand Committee Room in the House of Commons. This will be the fourth time that the group has brought their children to Parliament in order to raise the profile of this issue with the Government.

Anyone interested in supporting this cause is invited to join the group and thereby increase the show of support. Should you have any questions please contact LincsPPN member David Thompson on davidl@freewebaccess.co.uk or phone on 0207 290 1510 (Office Hours).

For vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

Revisiting History.

In a short retrospective news item dateline 26th June, Russ Musarra in the Beacon Journal (http://www.ohio.com/bj/) reports on "Polio cases chronicled in stories" 49 years ago to the day:

The year's first polio cases were front-page news in the Akron Beacon Journal on June 26, 1951, some five years before Dr. Albert Sabin announced development of a vaccine and eight years before large-scale trials proved it both safe and effective.

The newspaper chronicled the incidence and treatment of the crippling disease for years, and the news in 1951 was that polio struck three weeks later than it had in 1950. The first two stricken were a Cuyahoga Falls woman and a girl -- age not reported -- from Mingo Junction. Both were admitted to Children's Hospital in fair condition.

Three of 202 Akron-area polio patients admitted to the hospital the previous year were still being treated there in June 1951, the newspaper said.

The complete text of this news report can be found at http://www.ohio.com/
bj/news/docs/024167.htm
! The above document is no longer available. !

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

Atlanta Journal Constitution features Post-Polio and Warm Springs.

The Sunday edition (25th June) of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's epaper (http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/ includes no less than four articles on Post-Polio by Staff Writer M. A. J. McKenna. We include here only brief extracts from the four articles:

Warm Springs

On a breezy spring morning in a historic building in Middle Georgia, a group of men and women catch up on gossip, nibble fruit and coffee cake and complain about their bodies betraying them.

It could be any gathering of older adults, a bridge club or a Bible study group, pausing to lament the inevitabilities of aging. But small signals --- the glint of a brace below a freshly pressed trouser cuff, a pair of crutches lying beneath a chair --- suggest it is something more.

"Does anybody else have fever at the end of the day?" asks Jan Snider, 71, the perfectly coiffed wife of a retired minister.

"My throat just slams shut," says Jill Harman, 52, a computer specialist. "If I didn't have my husband there to hit me between the shoulder blades, I think I would die."

"For one hour, just one hour, I would like my husband and my daughter and my son to experience what I've been through," says Carolyn Haege, a Thomaston grandmother.

Their common complaint is an old foe, forgotten by most of their friends and neighbors but painfully vivid to them: polio.

It has been more than four decades since vaccines relieved most Americans of the terror of polio, which could leave a healthy toddler limp and crippled overnight. To those born after 1956, when the Salk vaccine went into use, the paranoia of the epidemic years --- more intense than the early days of AIDS hysteria --- is almost unimaginable.

But to the 1.63 million polio survivors in the United States, the fear and panic of polio are not merely a memory. Up to 40 percent have developed, or are expected to develop, the severe muscle weakness, pain and deep fatigue that are collectively called post-polio syndrome.

The new disability, not life-threatening but frequently life-altering, usually comes as a shock. It can take away the ability to cradle a grandchild, to walk without assistance, sometimes even to breathe freely. There is no cure, although adaptations can make life easier and slow the syndrome's progression. Survivors are left feeling twice victimized by polio --- and this time round, there are no national campaigns to help them and no poster children to draw attention to their plight.

The above is extracted from "To many who healed decades ago at Warm Springs, new pains and problems arise today, as Polio strikes again" by M. A. J. McKenna - Staff Writer, Atlanta Journal Constitution. [Full Text Here]
! The above document is no longer available. !

To many Americans, polio is no more than a concept: a disease that still bedevils the Third World but has little relevance here. But polio and Atlanta are old acquaintances. Warm Springs lies only 80 miles to the south, and for 30 years, many of its patients passed through here on the last lap of multiday journeys.

In an era when even a rumor of polio could close playgrounds and send children on months-long visits out of town, Warm Springs was extraordinary. It was a community run by and for the disabled, where the sight of physical handicaps was taken for granted.

Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who concealed his paraplegia from the world for a quarter-century, allowed himself to be seen as crippled by residents of Warm Springs. Judge Frank Cheatham of Savannah, a polio survivor who began five years of periodic treatments at Warm Springs in 1933, still treasures the memory of his first Thanksgiving luncheon there. FDR, as always, presided.

"He said, 'I want you all to remain where you are; I'm going over to the door, and I want to shake hands with all of you as you go out,' " Cheatham recalled. "So he transferred himself to this little two-bit wheelchair. We expected him just to wheel himself over and sit there, but he didn't. He went through the laborious act of standing up --- it took two men to help him stand and lock his braces --- and then he backed up against the doorframe and leaned against it as he shook hands with everyone.

"The public never saw the president at those awkward moments of standing up, sitting down or in a wheelchair," Cheatham added. "But he went out of his way to let us see the extent of his handicap."

FDR bought Warm Springs in 1927, three years after an initial visit in which he found the mineral-rich water relaxed his racked muscles --- and in which fearful spa guests fled the pool rather than share it with him. Until 1955, when Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine, it attracted polio patients from around the world.

The institution's mission has mostly changed: The Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation treats survivors of traumatic injuries, conducts therapy for a variety of disabilities, and plays a major role in paralympic sports. Most of the concern and fear around polio has shifted as well, to Africa and South Asia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are working to eliminate the remaining 6,000 infections a year.

The above is extracted from "Warming memories: A president shared the comfort he found in mineral-rich springs" by M. A. J. McKenna - Staff Writer, Atlanta Journal Constitution. [Full Text Here]
! The above document is no longer available. !

In the peak years of polio, Warm Springs kept patients safe from stares and snickers while they worked to regain their health. But for all the protection it offered, it also was a place of pain and isolation: The surgeries were excruciating, rebuilding strength took extraordinary effort, and patients were forced to live far from their families for months at a time.

Most left without looking back, but a few recorded the experience. One was Bertram Paul Schmitt, known as Paul, who contracted polio at age 17, just days before he was to enter college in 1939. He arrived at Warm Springs on a gurney in January 1940, paralyzed from the shoulders down, and left at Thanksgiving, walking on crutches and with a brace on one lower leg.

During his stay, he wrote home every week; when his mother, father or younger brother visited, each wrote to those who had stayed behind. Reading the letters, preserved in crumbling scrapbooks in the Roosevelt Institute's archives, provides a glimpse into the patience and determination that polio treatment demanded.

Paul arrived at Warm Springs by train Jan. 8 with his mother, Edna Diehl Haines Schmitt. They had been traveling for almost 24 hours; Paul was encased in a cast from hips to toes, topped by a tightly laced corset to support the weakened muscles of his trunk.

"Nearly everyone you see is apparently hopelessly crippled," Edna wrote to her husband, Bertram, and younger son, Bob, that first day. "Just after dinner, a few minutes ago, they all got out of their wheelchairs and with an attendant before them and behind them, they (tried) to walk a few steps with crutches. I nearly wept in front of them."

"Dear Fish-face," Paul wrote to his brother several days afterward. "I thought I was heavy, but since I have been lifted on and off stretchers by an orderly and a nurse, I have changed my mind." In a note to his father, at the end of the month, he confided: "I guess I'll be in bed for about a month yet. It seems they don't, as a rule, let patients sit up for six months."

The article continues with more extracts from 'Paul Schmitt's Archives' and concludes:

Paul Schmitt left Warm Springs on Nov. 27, 1940. Four years later, he was awarded a bachelor's degree in marine engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He married twice, had no children and died in 1982.

The above is extracted from "POLIO THEN: THE VIRUS 'He is allowed to sit up an hour a day'" by M. A. J. McKenna - Staff Writer, Atlanta Journal Constitution. [Full Text Here]
! The above document is no longer available. !

Waverly Hall

Bill Crowell remembers the day he developed polio. He was almost 8 years old, a bantamweight redhead growing up in Minnesota, when he stood up in his family's home and one leg crumpled under him.

But if that day ever slips from his memory, he has plenty of reminders. A spine fused with bone chips. An ankle locked in a right-angle bend. A sheet of polyester implanted in his abdomen to hold his internal organs in place. Nine feet of surgical scars up and down his body.

It took almost four years of surgeries and hospital stays to undo the damage that polio did to Crowell, but the torturous treatment eventually left him strong enough to make it through adulthood using only a leg brace and a cane. He moved to Georgia, raised a family, taught public speaking for almost 30 years at Columbus State University and planned a retirement sailing the Caribbean on his 38-foot boat.

And then the past caught up with him.

Crowell had fought the effects of polio to a draw, but in 1988, at age 50, the first symptoms of post-polio syndrome began to emerge.

"I thought I had beaten post-polio, and then I began to suspect I hadn't," he said. "But what do you do when your body lets you down? You have to go on."

Today, he uses two crutches inside his ranch-style house and an electric scooter with fat tires and a green-flake finish to navigate the garden outside. The boat has been sold; the proceeds bought the 23-acre hilltop property where Crowell, 62 and retired, lives with his second wife, Rita.

Coming to terms with post-polio has been a difficult struggle for a man so intolerant of limitation that "I used to race people to the door so I could hold it open, as a gentleman should," he said. "My racing gear no longer works. When someone opens the door for me now, I smile and thank them --- but oh, that is hard to take."

The above is extracted from "POLIO NOW: THE SYNDROME: 'I am headed for a wheelchair'" by M. A. J. McKenna - Staff Writer, Atlanta Journal Constitution. [Full Text Here]
! The above document is no longer available. !

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

See also the LincsPPN Directory Specialist Clinics and Health Professionals entry for Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation.

[ Index ]

24th June 2000
Polio Survivors in the News.

Archbishop Will Undergo Leg Operation.

Angela Mosconi of the New York Post (http://www.nypost.com/) reports:

Archbishop Edward Egan will undergo leg surgery next month, church officials said yesterday without specifying the reason for the operation.

"The archbishop will be going to a Bridgeport-area hospital in mid-to-late July in order to have a medical procedure done on his left leg," said archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

"He's having it done on the recommendation of his orthopedic physician to address some difficulty he's had with his leg."

Egan, who was installed as the ninth archbishop of New York Monday, scheduled the procedure before the announcement of his new position.

The archbishop was stricken with polio as a child, but Zwilling said the procedure is not related to that malady, from which Egan recovered.

The complete text of this news report from which the above is extracted can be found at http://www.nypost.com/news/6606.htm

[ Index ]

1st of 3 candidates to officially announce Lt. Gov. makes bid for office formal.

In the Roanoke Times, Friday, June 23, 2000, Christina Nuckols reports from Richmond, Virginia:

Lt. Gov. John Hager made his desire to be governor official Thursday in an effort to reassure and energize Republicans who have doubts that he can survive a convention fight with Attorney General Mark Earley.

"When the Republican Party meets next year in convention I intend to be your nominee," he told about 300 GOP revelers gathered in Richmond for barbecue and a mix of country, gospel and patriotic music. "And later, when the people of Virginia vote to decide, I intend to be your governor."

Although Hager, Earley and Democrat Mark Warner have all been running for governor for months, the lieutenant governor is the first to make it official. That formality is traditionally held after Election Day of the year before the gubernatorial election to prevent any distractions from other campaigns.

But for Hager, the decision to make an early announcement is a crucial one. Earlier this month, state Republicans voted to choose their statewide nominees next year through a convention rather than a primary. The decision gives Earley the advantage because he has the support of many religious conservatives, who typically make a strong showing at conventions.

The convention decision generated speculation that Hager would back out of the nomination fight to ensure that the Republican candidate next year has a unified party behind him.

"I've heard a lot of idle talk that he and Earley will work it out and he [Hager] will run again for lieutenant governor," said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. "I don't believe that for a minute."

Sabato said Hager, at 63, isn't inclined to step aside for Earley, who is 18 years his junior. Besides, Sabato added, the possibility still exists that Hager could be promoted to governor if GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush wins and appoints Gov. Jim Gilmore to a Cabinet post next year. It would be difficult under that scenario for Republicans to refuse the nomination to a sitting governor, Sabato said.

Christina Nuckols then describes Hagar's vow to "mobilize an army of new Republicans" and his intention to "bring a businessman's perspective to the governorship." The article continues:

Hager prefers to talk about his life experiences, including his bout with polio, which forced him to use a wheelchair but also forged in him a steely resolve.

"These wheels are greased and ready to roll," he told his supporters, who included Paul Galanti, a former Navy fighter pilot who was state chairman of U.S. Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

"He and his wife, Maggie, together have an awful lot of strength of will," said Ted Beck, a Rockbridge County man whose friendship with Hager began long before he ran for public office. "When John got polio it was a matter of getting his life together again and he did it."

The complete text of this news report from which the above is extracted can be found at http://www.roanoke.com/
roatimes/news/story95661.html

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

23rd June 2000
Florida Canals test positive for Polio Virus.

Human waste viruses found in canals
Polio and meningitis among illnesses that can be caused, researchers say.

In the Miami Herald (http://www.herald.com/) published Wednesday, June 21, 2000, Lisa Fuss reports from Marathon:

Three Keys canals or near-shore areas contain live infectious viruses from human waste that can cause serious illnesses, according to a report released to several local and state environmental agencies.

Researchers from the University of South Florida sampled water at seven sites, from Key Largo to Key West, and results show that canals and near-shore waters in Key Largo, Lower Matecumbe Key and Marathon contain viruses that cause polio and viral meningitis, along with a variety of others that cause lesser viral illnesses.

Initial water-quality culture tests revealed the presence of live enteroviruses -- including polio, coxsackie A and B and echoviruses -- in Key Largo's Sexton Cove and a gulf-side cove area behind Marathon Government Center. Captains Cove, a canal basin in the Port Antigua neighborhood of Lower Matecumbe Key, also has tested positive for the live viruses.

Four other sites tested -- Jolly Roger Park and Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Eden Pines in Big Pine Key and Rest Beach in Key West -- were negative for those specific live viruses. Former USF researcher Dale Griffin, who headed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded study, is currently conducting additional culture tests in all seven areas to determine whether the canals contain other types of live viruses.

"Basically, these tests can detect viruses that [the initial tests] can't see," said Griffin, who now works for the U.S. Geological Survey Center for Coastal Geology in St. Petersburg. "They are also going to be able to tell us whether the live viruses already found are vaccine strains or not."

Griffin has forwarded a report of his initial findings to agencies that oversee water quality in the Keys, including the state Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA and the Monroe County Health Department. Once tests are complete, Griffin will provide officials with a complete report of his research.

So far, the news isn't good. Griffin insists swimming or fishing in some Keys canals could be hazardous to health. Even wading or eating raw or improperly cooked fish from infectious areas carries considerable health risks. Coxsackie A and B cause diseases such as herpangina and myocarditis. Echoviruses can cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from fever to viral meningitis.

All the detected viruses, says Griffin, are transmissible by human feces and are believed to have migrated into Keys canals and near-shore waters in raw sewage from leaking cesspools and septic tanks. The leakage from outdated waste-water treatment systems has prompted state officials to mandate that Monroe County complete an upgrade of virtually all sewage systems in the Keys by 2010.

The complete text of this news report from which the above is extracted can be found at http://www.herald.com/
content/today/news/dade/digdocs/000039.htm

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

19th June 2000
Polio Eradication: UNICEF Condemns Nurse's Murder During Polio Campaign.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) reports from Johannesburg:

UNICEF said at the weekend that Luis Felipe Gomes, Chief Nurse of Belize Municipal Hospital in Angola was killed in an ambush on Saturday 10 June.

UNICEF said that the murder took place during the first of three scheduled rounds of National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Angola, to immunize children against polio. "While driving with companion health workers Gomes was ambushed and killed, in an unprovoked, armed attack," UNICEF added.

"The death of Gomes adds one more name to a tragic toll of humanitarian workers wantonly struck down as they went about the work of seeing that the rights of all the world's children are honoured. This vicious murder and others like it confer a badge of shame on those who will not lay aside arms even for a single day to allow the work of saving children's lives to proceed," UNICEF said.

UNICEF said that investigations were ongoing to determine who was responsible for the killing.

This item is delivered by the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit (e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org; fax: +254 2 622129; Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN), but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
south/angola/stories/20000619/20000619_feat3.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

14th June 2000

Polio Eradication: UNICEF Gives Angola Eight Million Anti-Polio Vaccine Doses.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports from Luanda, Angola:

UNICEF has offered 8.2 million anti-polio vaccine doses to help the ongoing Angolan Expanded Programme on Immunisation's campaign against infantile paralysis.

Besides providing the vaccines, the agency has also offered training technical experts from each municipal in the provinces in the preparation of micro-plans.

UNICEF said in a press release that it is also to provide an unspecified aid towards a social mobilisation campaign involving 600 brigades.

The door-to-door mobilisation undertaken 10-11 June involved sensitising parents using posters to take their children for vaccination.

Other organisations backing the vaccination campaign include USAID, the mining company De Beers, the World Health Organisation and World Food Programme, which are helping to transfer vaccine doses and other vaccination materials to the provinces.

The director of the Angola vaccination programme has said that three million children were being targeted under the current vaccination exercise.

The natioal news agency reported that 85,000 children aged 0-5 years were vaccinated against polio Saturday and Sunday.

It quoted the Luanda health provincial director, Vita Vemba, as saying this figure represented 76 percent of the set target.

He described the first phase campaign in Luanda as successful, although he complained of the lack of support from local businessmen.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/south/angola/stories/20000614/20000614_feat1.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

Polio Eradication: Polio Kills Four Children In Angola's Benguela Province.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports from Benguela, Angola:

Out of 10 reported cases of polio, four children have died from the disease in Angola's central coastal Benguela province since the beginning of the year.

This was revealed Tuesday by the provincial director of public health, Ines Leopoldo, following a vaccination campaign against polio conducted over the weekend.

He said that between March and June 1999, some 89 cases of polio were recorded which resulted in 24 deaths in the area.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
south/angola/stories/20000614/20000614_feat2.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

Polio Survivors in the News: Disabled senior golfer wins court battle.

CNNSI (http://www.cnnsi.com/) carried the following Associated Press report from Austin, Texas:

A disabled golfer with a progressive muscle disease must be allowed to use a cart in U.S. Senior Open qualifying, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

JaRo Jones, 53, of Baytown, filed a lawsuit against the United States Golf Association, saying denying him a cart violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. District Judge James R. Nowlin agreed and issued a preliminary injunction ordering Jones be allowed a cart during Monday's qualifying round in San Antonio. The U.S. Senior Open starts June 29 at Saucon Valley C.C., in Bethlehem, Pa.

USGA attorney Lee Abrams of Chicago said immediately afterward he didn't know if an appeal would be filed.

"This is great," said Jones, a former teaching pro who was diagnosed in 1993 with post-polio syndrome. The disease causes the muscles in his legs and shoulders to atrophy, causing him great fatigue. He walks with a cane and doctors have told him he could be in a wheelchair in just a few years.

"This is the major championship of the United States for seniors. This is something I've been gearing for since I was diagnosed," Jones said. "I thought I was never going to have this opportunity.

"Whether I qualify or not ... it's the point that I do have the opportunity to try," he said.

The USGA had denied Jones' request for a cart in 1998 and 1999. He tried to play without one in 1998 but withdrew before finishing the round.

The USGA has maintained that walking is an integral part of the game and giving Jones a cart could give him an unfair advantage.

"Part of the competition is to test the ability of the participant to overcome fatigue," Abrams said.

The organization also said allowing Jones to use a cart would be unfair to players who have already played qualifying rounds without one.

Allowing Jones a cart could create a flood of similar requests, Abrams said.

"Golf at the championship level is very simple," Abrams said. "The rules are the same for all competitors."

Nowlin, who said he has never played golf, criticized the USGA's position as misguided and spiteful of its own interests.

"I would think that if Mr. Jones were to play, and win, it would be an inspiration ... and generate publicity for your organization and what you do," Nowlin told Abrams.

But he also questioned whether the case should be in federal court.

"There are real problems in this world. You all don't have a problem. I think this is much ado about nothing," Nowlin said.

"If folks had looked at this and used common sense, we wouldn't have this in federal court," he said.

Jones had polio when he was 4 and was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome when he was 46. Since 1995, he has traveled around the country teaching other disabled people how to play golf.

Although he has learned how to swing his clubs while sitting in a modified golf cart, Jones says he will stand for every shot in the qualifying round and would not ask to drive on the greens.

"I just need to get as close as humanly possible to the greens," he said. "I can't walk 40 yards uphill to get to a green."

The issue could ultimately end up with the U.S. Supreme Court as federal appeals court have issued conflicting rulings in cases similar to Jones'.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court in Chicago in March ruled against a disabled club pro from Indiana. The court said a cart would change the nature of competition and that such rules were best left to the governing body.

Meanwhile, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court in San Francisco upheld a lower court ruling that allows Casey Martin to ride a cart on the PGA Tour. The USGA allowed Martin to use a cart for U.S. Open qualifying but he failed to advance.

The Senior PGA Tour allows players to use carts during tournaments, although many choose not to.

Nowlin warned other golfers to watch out for Jones.

"It would be my concern that Mr. Jones not run over any of the other competitors," Nowlin joked.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.cnnsi.com/
golf/news/2000/06/14/disabled_ap/index.html

Related NewsBites reports:
1st May 2000 - Polio Survivors in the News: Teaching pro sues USGA over qualifying regulations.

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

11th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angola To Vaccinate Over 205,000 Children Against Polio.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports from Huambo, Angola:

Over 205,000 children aged up to five years are expected to be vaccinated against polio by Sunday in the 11 towns Huambo province in Central Angola, official sources said.

More than 250 teams are jointly working with the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and thousands of volunteers to immunise the children.

Amos Domingos, supervisor of the expanded immunisation programe (EIP), indicated Saturday to the press that the province had received almost 286,560 doses of polio vaccines.

All is set for a successful campaign of the first phase of immunisation against polio in all the towns of the province due to improved security in the war-torn Angola, he said.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
south/angola/stories/20000611/20000611_feat1.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

9th June 2000
AIDS link study published in Science journal.

In the Telegraph article "Study refutes Aids link to Fifties polio vaccine" (NewsBites 26th April 2000) it was reported that for the study showing that the last common ancestor of the virus that caused the Aids pandemic appeared in about 1930 ± 20 years:

... the final data will be published later this year in Science.

The data has now been published in Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/) in a paper titled "Timing the Ancestor of the HIV-1 Pandemic Strains". The authors are listed as B. Korber, M. Muldoon, J. Theiler, F. Gao, R. Gupta, A. Lapedes, B. H. Hahn, S. Wolinsky, and T. Bhattacharya. The abstract reads:

HIV-1 sequences were analyzed to estimate the timing of the ancestral sequence of the main group of HIV-1, the strains responsible for the AIDS pandemic. Using parallel supercomputers and assuming a constant rate of evolution, we applied maximum-likelihood phylogenetic methods to unprecedented amounts of data for this calculation. We validated our approach by correctly estimating the timing of two historically documented points. Using a comprehensive full-length envelope sequence alignment, we estimated the date of the last common ancestor of the main group of HIV-1 to be 1931 (1915-41). Analysis of a gag gene alignment, subregions of envelope including additional sequences, and a method that relaxed the assumption of a strict molecular clock also supported these results.

The publishing of the data has produces a flurry of new news reports. The following represent a small selection:

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

Related NewsBites reports:
26th April 2000 - Study refutes Aids link to Fifties polio vaccine.
30th March 2000 - Royal Society accused in row over origins of HIV.
15th December 1999 - Researchers Challenge Theory That Polio Trials Led to AIDS.
30th November 1999 - Is AIDS a Man-Made Plague? New research revives the theory that HIV may have originated in a polio vaccine.

[ Index ]

8th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angola: Polio campaign gets underway.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) reports in the IRIN Update for Southern Africa:

Three polio immunisation campaigns began in Luanda this week and are scheduled to last until August, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Luanda said in its latest update.

It said that the campaign is being organised by the Angolan ministry of health with support from WHO and UNICEF.

"Approximately 3.8 million children under five in 164 districts will be targeted during the campaign. USAID, DFID, De Beers and Rotary International have donated US $4.2 million to support polio eradication in Angola during 2000," OCHA said.

This item is delivered by the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit (e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org; fax: +254 2 622129; Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN), but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
south/stories/20000608/20000608_feat1.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

7th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angolan First Lady Urges Women To Fight Polio.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports from Luanda, Angola:

Angolan First Lady Ana Paula Dos Santos has called on the wives of governors, deputy governors, and local administrators to work together in the fight against poliomyelitis.

The appeal is contained in a message Monday by the first lady's office, as part of the campaign against that infant paralysis. She urged those ladies to help in mobilising the means to fight the disease.

Angola holds the first phase of the national poliomyelitis vaccination programme from 10-11 June while the second would be held 14-15 July.

While recognising the good results obtained during the 1999 campaign, Mrs Dos Santos noted that it did not cover every district of as many regions could not be reached.

Over three million children were vaccinated against poliomyelitis in 1999.

Ana Paula Dos Santos added that the Angolan government vowed to eradicate poliomyelitis by 2005, which calls for a hard work.

The First Lady is expected to meet in July with the wives of provincial governors to outline strategies of helping to achieve that objective.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
south/angola/stories/20000607/20000607_feat1.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

6th June 2000
Polio virus might mend brain tumors.

Arabia Life (http://www.akhbar.com/) carried the following Reuters report from Washington:

The polio virus, which once paralysed millions of children but which has been nearly eradicated thanks to vaccines, might finally do some good by killing brain tumours, researchers said on Monday.

They said they had genetically altered the virus so that it homes in on and kills cells making up malignant gliomas, a hard-to-treat form of cancer that kills most victims within a year.

Gliomas kill 18,000 Americans a year. There is no treatment for glioma besides surgery, and the tumours often spread throughout the brain very quickly, making it impossible to find and cut them all out.

"Available treatment is of limited utility for these tumours, and prognosis is therefore poor," Matthias Gromeier of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and colleagues at Duke University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The polio virus goes after nerve cells, so Gromeier's group decided to see if it might be able to target neurons. It did.

They then weakened it by exchanging the gene it uses to get into cells with a gene from a human cold virus.

The new, genetically engineered virus did not get into healthy neurons very well but zoomed right in on rapidly growing glioma cells.

Tests on mice infected with human glioma showed it could stop tumour growth, the researchers reported. They said all the tumours disappeared after two weeks in mice injected with their genetically engineered virus.

The experiment worked when they injected the virus into the legs of the mice, and also when they injected it directly into the brain tumours.

Researchers warned that what works in mice artificially infected with cancer may not necessarily work in humans. But Eric Holland of the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston said the approach might be used at least to help relieve the symptoms of people suffering from the tumours.

The researchers also warned that not every cancer cell was affected by the genetically engineered virus -- only those with a certain receptor, or molecular doorway, on their surface.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.akhbar.com/article/0,1690,ArabiaLife|21998,00.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

2nd June 2000

Polio Eradication: Afghanistan Polio Vaccinations Due.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com (http://www.jsonline.com/) carried the following Associated Press report from Geneva:

The United Nations will carry out a campaign to immunize 4.5 million children in Afghanistan against polio this weekend, taking advantage of a promised cease-fire between the country's warring factions.

It will be the second of four rounds of vaccinations to protect children against the crippling disease. The first round, held May 1-3, was considered a success, and the truce agreed on by the ruling Taliban militia and its opponents was respected.

The U.N. Children's Fund said Friday that further national campaigns were planned for October and November.

More than 150 new cases of polio were reported last year in Afghanistan, one of about 30 countries where the disease still exists.

The United Nations wants to eradicate polio worldwide by 2005. But it has dropped its goal of stopping all new transmissions by the end of this year because of conflict in several African countries and the virus' continuing existence in pockets of India.

Polio is highly infectious. It usually strikes children under 5, affecting the spinal cord and brain and causing paralysis and sometimes death.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.jsonline.com/
news/intl/ap/jun00/ap-un-afghanistan-060200.asp

[ Index ]

Polio Eradication: Ghana: Japan gives US $1 million to fight polio.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) reports in the IRIN-WA Weekly Round-up:

Japan agreed on Wednesday to give Ghana US $1 million for an ongoing campaign to vaccinate children under the age of five against poliomyelitis, PANA reported. The grant will enable Ghana to buy 10 million doses of vaccines, the news agency said.

Ghana's health minister, Kwame Danso, said there were just three reported cases of polio at the end of 1999 and none, so far this year.

Eradicating polio worldwide is one of the goals of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said at a 16 March meeting in Geneva: "The global campaign to eradicate polio will only succeed if the supply of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is assured through the year 2005 and even beyond."

At the meeting, representatives of the three largest international suppliers of the anti-polio vaccine - Aventis Pasteur, Chiron and SmithKline Beecham Biologicals - agreed to work jointly to ensure that enough OPV is available at least up to 2005, when the world is expected to be certified polio-free, UNICEF said.

This item is delivered by the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit (e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org; fax: +254 2 622129; Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN), but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
west/stories/20000602/20000602_feat1.html

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

1st June 2000
Polio Eradication: Japan Assists Ghana's Polio Eradication Drive.

In Africa News Online (http://www.africanews.org/) the Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports from Accra, Ghana:

Japan is to give Ghana a grant of about one million US dollars to support the 2000 immunisation against poliomyelitis in the country.

This will enable Ghana to purchase 10 million doses of polio vaccines to immunise all children under five, thus allowing Ghana to achieve its goal of eradicating the disease by the end of 2000.

In a bid to eradicate Polio from Africa by 2000, the World Health Organisation introduced the National Immunisation Days (NIDs) in 1996 in which two days are set aside each year for special polio immunisation exercises.

Shosuke Ito, Japanese ambassador to Ghana, and Ghana's health minister, Prof. Kwame Danso, signed the grant's agreement.

Ito said Japan is delighted to continue with its support until the disease is completely eliminated.

He added that even though coverage of the NIDs has been significant, the two countries do not have to relent in their efforts to promote awareness all over the country on the need for polio immunisation. He said he is happy that more than 103 percent of the targeted population was covered in the last immunisation exercise although some parts of the country were flooded and inaccessible.

Boafo said in 1998, there were 23 reported cases of wild polio in Ghana but by the end of 1999 there were only three reported cases. There has been no reported case since the beginning of the year.

He noted that through such grants, Ghana has been able to attain 98 percent coverage reaching millions of children since the commencement of the NIDs in 1996.

The complete text of the news report can be found at http://www.africanews.org/
west/ghana/stories/20000601/20000601_feat10.html

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

DATELINE
28th June 2000
Item 1
More cash for vaccine victims (U.K.)
and
Item 2
Polio Survivor in the News: Zimbabwe farmer's widow claiming political asylum
and
Item 3
Polio Survivor in the News: Photographer tours small towns in search of interesting stories.
*
27th June 2000
Item 1
Vaccine Victims Support Group (U.K.) to meet with MP's.
and
Item 2
Revisiting History.
and
Item 3
Atlanta Journal Constitution features Post-Polio and Warm Springs.
*
24th June 2000
Polio Survivors in the News.
Item 1
Archbishop Will Undergo Leg Operation
and
Item 2
1st of 3 candidates to officially announce Lt. Gov. makes bid for office formal.
*
23rd June 2000
Florida Canals test positive for Polio Virus.
*
19th June 2000
Polio Eradication: UNICEF Condemns Nurse's Murder During Polio Campaign.
*
14th June 2000
Item 1
Polio Eradication: UNICEF Gives Angola Eight Million Anti-Polio Vaccine Doses
and
Item 2
Polio Eradication: Polio Kills Four Children In Angola's Benguela Province
and
Item 3
Polio Survivors in the News: Disabled senior golfer wins court battle.
*
11th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angola To Vaccinate Over 205,000 Children Against Polio.
*
9th June 2000
AIDS link study published in Science journal.
*
8th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angola: Polio campaign gets underway.
*
7th June 2000
Polio Eradication: Angolan First Lady Urges Women To Fight Polio.
*
6th June 2000
Polio virus might mend brain tumors.
*
2nd June 2000
Item 1
Polio Eradication: Afghanistan Polio Vaccinations Due
and
Item 2
Polio Eradication: Ghana: Japan gives US $1 million to fight polio.
*
1st June 2000
Polio Eradication: Japan Assists Ghana's Polio Eradication Drive.
*
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