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September 2000

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

28th September 2000

[The London Times] Polio can kill in hours.

In today's Times ( in an article headed "Polio can kill in hours", Dr Thomas Stuttaford writes:

THE RECENT ITV programme [Channel 4 - See NewsBites 21st September 2000] on the history of acute anterior poliomyelitis and the research into finding a safe but efficient vaccine to prevent it fascinated even those viewers who are not usually interested in medicine.

Few people under the age of 50 know that, until the Sixties, polio was as much feared by parents as meningitis is today. Viewers under middle age saw the documentary as history, for they have no recollections of the epidemics of polio that regularly struck Britain. If they have any such memories from the Sixties, it would be only a haunting one of older children and adolescents with braces on their legs, perhaps struggling with crutches, or of collecting-boxes for polio research.

Many people thought that Sir Julian Critchley, the writer, broadcaster and Conservative MP who died earlier this month [See NewsBites 12th September 2000], spent his last years in a wheelchair because of spinal secondaries from a cancer in his prostate. In fact, his progressive paralysis was primarily related to polio. Sir Julian was one of those unfortunate people who had polio in youth, and in his latter years he suffered from post-poliomyelitis syndrome.

The article continues with descriptions of both PPS and acute polio infection. It concludes:

In the worst cases polio could kill within hours.

For every case where paralysis occurred, there were dozens exhibiting the minor form of the disease.

Polio is an example of how immunisation has revolutionised medicine and childhood.

The full text of the article from which the above is quoted can be found at

[ Index ]

[USA Today] Polio aftereffects challenge science.

In a USA Today ( article dated Sept. 27, 2000, A.J.S. Rayl with medical advisor Stephen A. Shoop, M.D. writes:

For most Americans today, the threat of polio seems like ancient history. But for those who thought they conquered the "Silent Crippler" decades ago, the poliomyelitis virus is proving to be more insidious than anyone imagined.

During the epidemics from the late '40s through the early '60s, the infectious disease spread like wildfire, instilling fear in virtually every American household. At its worst, it could cause complete paralysis. Children were particularly vulnerable, but the severity of the infection increased with age. All told, an estimated 1.63 million people in the USA were bedridden, many in large hospital wards.

Many of those who were stricken were unable to walk normally. Some were unable to move at all and were left wheelchair-bound. Recovery typically required years of rehabilitation.

The disease crossed all barriers. No one was immune. Such luminaries as Arthur C. Clarke, Joni Mitchell, Alan Alda, Francis Ford Coppola and Mia Farrow are among those who suffered from polio early in their lives.

The acute form of polio was eradicated in the USA in the '60s with the development of vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Worldwide, the eradication campaign is now in its final stages.

But about 15 years ago, physician-researchers discovered that the disease can come back to haunt those who thought they'd won the war. The prodigal condition is known as Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS).

Survivors who thought they were stable suddenly found that their functional abilities were diminishing. Normal daily activities such as bending, standing for any length of time, walking, climbing stairs, sleeping, swallowing, and even dressing were more difficult. As a result, they were forced to use braces, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, or breathing aids.

The article continues with contributions from Lauro S. Halstead, Marinos Dalakas, Dr. Carlos Vallbona and Samuel L. Pfaff.

The full text can be found at

[ Index ]

Obituary: David M. Abel.

David M. Abel, a former Bay Harbor Islands councilman and assistant mayor and a Miami-Dade general contractor, died of complications from an infection Sunday at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was 80.

Mireidy Fernandez in the Miami Herald ( on September 27, 2000, writes of David M. Abel:

Known for developing and building structures like the Bay Harbor Islands Theater, the Miami Beach Fire Station on Alton Road and Temple Menorah, Abel dedicated his life to the town of Bay Harbor Islands and to philanthropy work.

"He was part of a group that gave us one of the tightest zoning codes in terms of avoiding high-rises and holding down density," friend and Bay Harbor Islands resident Ted Nelson said.

"He was a leader in creating the beauty of the town as it stands today by passing ordinances that assured proper landscaping."

In 1949, two years after the incorporation of Bay Harbor Islands, Abel, his wife and their two children moved from New York City into an apartment in the town.

"When we moved in, it was a tiny town with only a few homes and apartment buildings," daughter Susan Abel Postal said. "He wanted to put Bay Harbor Islands on the map and help develop it."

Abel served as town councilman for 20 years -- from 1951 to 1971. He also served as assistant mayor from 1954 to 1955 and from 1963 to 1964.

As a councilman, Abel was the backbone behind getting the Broad Causeway built, said his wife, Rene.

"Because he was an engineer, the council called him 'the commissioner of the causeway,' " she said. "It wasn't that he was smarter than everybody else, it was that he was able to talk to the city engineers at their level and converse with them about the plans for the town."

Born in New York City, Abel received a degree in mechanical engineering from New York University. He did some work in electrical manufacturing and industrial design before starting his own manufacturing business in woodworking, which he named the David M. Abel Construction Co.

At age 28, Abel was stricken with polio, but that didn't stop him from working or staying active, his wife said.

Because of his disease, Abel and his wife founded the Post-Polio Association of South Florida, a support group for people with the illness.

"He wanted to start that because he felt very few people knew about it, and he wanted to broaden awareness," his daughter said.

The Abels also helped found the National Parkinson Foundation in 1957, after a friend was diagnosed with the illness. The organization grew to involve comedian Bob Hope and most recently actor Michael J. Fox.

Over the years, Abel had another passion: Japanese sculpting. The Abels took about 10 trips to Japan, collected Japanese art and he learned ivory sculpting because "he was absolutely fascinated by Japanese art," his daughter said.

Some of his tiny ivory Japanese carvings are featured in the book Living Masters of Netsuke.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Abel is survived by two grandchildren. His son Billy died in 1969.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Friday at Temple Israel, 137 NE 19th St. Beth Israel Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements.

The full text of the obituary can be found at

[ Index ]

27th September 2000
United Nations first Global Polio Partners Summit.

On 27 September 2000 [today], 150 leaders from the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations will gather at the United Nations at the first Global Polio Partners Summit to pledge their support and commitment to completely eradicate polio from the world. This is the final phase of a campaign that began in 1988 with the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public/private partnership spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with support from national governments, private foundations such as the United Nations Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, development banks, donor governments, corporations and individuals.

For more information see

UPDATE! Dr. Richard Bruno, Chairperson of the International Post-Polio Task Force and Director of The Post-Polio Institute, Englewood (NJ) Hospital and Medical Center, will be appearing on CNN, commenting on the U.N. Global Polio Partners Summit: CNN Morning News Today, Wednesday September 27th 11 to 11:30 AM A.M. Eastern Daylight Time.

11:00:00 Wed Sep 27 2000 in US/Eastern converts to 15:00:00 Wed Sep 27 2000 in GMT (4.00pm BST). For CNN Streaming Video see
For CNN streaming audio see
A quick inspection of the above suggests that CNN Morning News is streamed as live audio. We are less certain regarding live video.

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

[ Index ]

25th September 2000
Department of Health's position on PPS.

In the current edition of their magazine The Bulletin, the British Polio Fellowship (BPF) clarifies the Department of Health's position on post polio syndrome. In correspondence with the BPF, Yvette Cooper, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, writes:

We are aware of the emergence of evidence that post polio syndrome is affecting survivors of epidemics earlier this century.

Polio was previously considered to be a self-limiting disease, once the acute stage was over. The amount of residual damage determined the degree of recovery, which was thought to be stable once optimum function had been achieved. However, it is now well established that polio has a second, slowly progressive degenerative phase, unrelated to normal ageing. This second phase may become apparent many years after the initial infection.

As time passes, an increasing number of previously "stable" persons with a history of polio infection report unexpected new symptoms. The time lag from the initial infection to the second phase varies but is commonly approximately 30 years.

The onset is usually slow and steady. It may occasionally develop suddenly and progress at an irregular pace. Symptoms sometimes commence after a period of physical or emotional strain, or after a period of immobility, eg disease or surgery.

Yvette Cooper has given the BPF permission to quote the above text. The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network are grateful to both the BPF and the Department of Health for their permissions to use the same text for informational purposes.

For more information about the British Polio Fellowship see their entry in our Directory of International/National/Local Support Organizations.

[ Index ]

22nd September 2000
Virginia Polio Epidemic 50th Anniversary.

This Sunday's Richmond Times Dispatch is scheduled to publish a major article on the Virginia Polio Epidemic of 1950. As this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the greatest polio epidemic in Virginia medical history, TD staff writer William McKelway has done extensive research on what happened fifty years ago.

The Times Dispatch's web address is although remember this is advance notice for the article scheduled for publication on Sunday 24th September.

UPDATE 24th September:
The article is titled "'Devil's Grippe' Physician-victim works to help others struck twice by polio." and can be found at

Our thanks to Henry Holland MD, President of the Central Virginia PPS Support Group, for the advance notice.

See also Dr. Henry writes..., the catalogue of articles by Dr. Holland available in our online library including Dr. Henry writes about the Virginia Polio Epidemic of 1950, and the entry for the Central Va PPS Support Group in our Directory of International/National/Local Organizations.

[ Index ]

21st September 2000
UK TV C4 Secret History "Children of the iron lung" broadcast tonight.

Channel 4 is broadcasting "Children of the iron lung", a program in the Secret History series, tonight at 9.00pm BST (2000hrs GMT/UTC). The following program description and review are from the Radio Times (

Program Description:

For the greater part of the 20th century polio spread panic throughout the western world and caused paralysis in its victims, who were encased in iron lungs and fitted with callipers to support their weakened limbs. In the last program of the series, the story of the polio years is explored through the memories of patients, medical staff and policy makers. Was the government too cautious in its introduction of the polio vaccine?


The threat of polio hung like a dark cloud over Britain in the immediate post-war years, killing hundreds and disabling thousands. A terrifying outbreak in the summer of 1947 left some victims dependent on iron lungs to help them breathe and others needed callipers to support their limbs. It created a panic that saw swimming pools and cinemas closed. Here, patients, policy-makers and medical staff look back on the spectre that was eventually exorcised by a programme of immunisation. But it seems Britain may have been slow to take advantage of the vaccine discovered in 1954. It had been enthusiastically welcomed in the US, but here the authorities hesitated in establishing a universal immunisation programme. GE

Important Note. The focus of the program is historical and in particular the period leading up to the start of polo immunisation in Britain. As far as we can tell, current post-polio and IPV/OPV vaccine issues were outside the program makers remit and are not referenced in the program.

Background information on the program can be found at the following location but probably not until around the time of the broadcast:
Update: The program was broadcast at the specified time but at the time of writing (1030hrs BST the following morning) the Secret History section of the Channel 4 web site had not been updated with any background information on the above program. However the Phone Helplines link on the Nextstep page does does provide details of the recorded message phone number that was displayed at the end of the program including a link to the text of that recorded message.

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

[ Index ]

20th September 2000
Polio Virus Eradication: UP lags behind in polio eradication.

Lalit Kumar of The Times of India News Service ( reported from Noida on the 19th September:

Uttar Pradesh, which has this year reported 41 per cent of the world's polio cases, has been getting unsatisfactory results in eliminating polio because of the tendency of its officials to exaggerate the actual coverage of the immunisation campaigns in the state. Besides, routine immunisation in UP is extremely low.

This was revealed by the Union health ministry assistant commissioner of immunisation Dr S Sarkar at an awareness meet on polio immunisation in Noida on Saturday.

Dr Sarkar said, "Often, when the figures claim the immunisation has been 100 per cent, it may actually be 50 per cent."

Dr Sarkar said there had been 284 cases of polio reported globally this year. Of these, 126 were from South-East Asia, with India alone accounting for 121. Of the 121, 68 where from UP, 36 from Bihar and, among others, two from Delhi and one from Haryana.

The immunisation officials said today's condition in UP, as regards polio, is comparable to what Tamil Nadu's was about two years ago. But, Tamil Nadu ran effective immunisation drives as did Orissa.

"If these states can do it," said Dr Sarkar, "so can UP. The means are all there - what is needed are determined efforts," he asserted.

The full text of the article can be found at

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

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex

[ Index ]

15th September 2000

No evidence AIDS triggered by vaccine.

Earlier this week (Monday, September 11, 2000) CNews, the news arm of Canoe (Canada Internet - carried the following Associated Press report from London:

Independent laboratory tests have found no evidence to support the theory that an experimental polio vaccine used on about one million Africans in the 1950s inadvertently triggered the AIDS epidemic.

The findings, presented Monday at a conference at the Royal Society in London, found no evidence that the vaccine, administered between 1957 and 1961, contained any tissue from chimpanzees.

Scientists believe that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, most probably originates from the type of SIV, or simian immunodeficiency virus, found in chimpanzees in western central Africa. But they don't know how or when the chimp virus got into humans.

The prevailing theory is that a hunter became infected after being scratched by a chimp when trying to capture it or after cutting himself while butchering the animal. However, some experts suspect that a polio vaccine made with contaminated chimpanzee cells may have been the culprit.

In the latest tests, samples of four different supplies of the vaccine, including some used in the African immunization program, were tested for traces of genetic material from animals.

Two laboratories found the samples they tested were made using monkey tissue, but they found no chimp DNA, said Claudio Basilico, chairman of the microbiology department at New York University School of Medicine. Basilico chaired a committee set up by the vaccine's maker, the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, to investigate claims that chimp tissue might have been used.

"Does this definitively rule out the vaccine theory? No, but it makes it more unlikely," Basilico said. He said record-keeping was sketchy at the time and that there may have been other samples not tested that were used in Africa.

The tests were also designed to find traces of SIV and found none. But that may not be important, Basilico said, because the virus could have died out after 40 years in a freezer.

The findings by the Max-Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris did not dampen the views of Edward Hooper, chief proponent of the polio vaccine theory.

Hooper contended in a 1999 book, The River, that the Wistar Institute scientists might have used chimp kidneys contaminated with the virus to make some batches of the vaccine.

"This means nothing at all for the polio vaccine theory because different batches were prepared," Hooper said, adding that other, untested or missing batches might have yielded different results.

Two scientists who conducted the African vaccine trials denied any chimpanzee tissue was used to make the vaccine and branded Hooper's theory a "fantasy."

"We never used chimp kidneys," said Dr. Hilary Koprowski, who developed the vaccine. "I was there in 1957, and the author (Hooper) was not."

"I was working in the Wistar laboratory from 1957 to 1961 and I never saw or heard of chimpanzee cells" being used, added Dr. Stanley Plotkin, now a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hooper quoted others involved in the research, such as lab technicians, hygienists and vets, who appeared to support his theory. One, a lab technician identified only as Juma, said kidneys were removed from chimps at the vaccine research station in Africa and sent to labs in Belgium and Rwanda.

Others contended that chimp kidneys were sent to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and that some of the vaccine was made in a laboratory in Stanleyville, in what was then the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The full text of the article can be found at

See also
BBC Online : Scientists to reveal origin of Aids
Monday, 11 September, 2000, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Seattle Times : Did '50s polio-vaccine experiments create AIDS?

Related NewsBites reports:
22nd July 2000 - Africa Development: How Aids was unleashed upon Africa.
11th July 2000 - AIDS Virus Traced to 1675.
9th June 2000 - AIDS link study published in Science journal.
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 ]

New Support Group in Laguna Woods.

Earlier this week Eva Scholtz reported in the LA Times (

A group for people suffering from post-polio syndrome has started in Laguna Woods.

Dr. Bill Schwied, who contracted polio in Okinawa, Japan, in 1947 and now suffers from post-polio syndrome, began the group last month.

Its purpose is to educate people and to help members find resources, adequate physicians and to look into disability issues such as rights to transportation services.

The syndrome stems from overuse of the non-affected muscles and nerves, which had to compensate for those damaged by the disease.

Decades of strain can cause pain and weakness in the so-called good limbs or parts of the body, as well as related symptoms such as muscle spasms and cramping, persistent fatigue and a sensitivity to cold.

Roughly 75 post-polio sufferers or their caregivers, many from Laguna Woods and others from Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and San Clemente, were on hand for the group's first meeting Aug. 30.

For information, contact Beulah Harrington at (949) 830-6315 or e-mail

The full text of the article can be found at

[ Index ]

Polio Virus Eradication Roundup.

Brazil Prioritizes Measles and Polio in Mass Vaccination Program.

Medscape ( carried a report by Matthew Harris of Reuters Health from Sao Paolo on August 21st:

The Ministry of Health, through its subsidiary organisation the National Health Foundation, is prioritizing polio and measles in the second stage of a mass vaccination programme that began in June of this year.

This past Saturday, over 500,000 volunteers and health professionals, working in over 131,000 health posts around the country, aimed to deliver over 16.6 million doses of polio vaccine and 12 million doses of measles vaccine, in the hope of bringing about a total eradication of these illnesses.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Health last week, over $45 million has been invested in the two-phase vaccination campaign. Thirty million dollars was spent on vaccine acquisition, $3 million on syringes and needles and $14 million on operational costs.

The materials required to pull off the campaign continue to be impressive, the Ministry says.

Vaccinating the children of the fourth largest country in the world will require 36,000 vehicles, 2600 boats, and an estimated 980 hours of flying time to reach the many far-flung areas that have little or no health access.

As a direct result of vaccination campaigns such as this one, no cases of polio have been reported in Brazil for the last 10 years, and the same success is hoped for the measles vaccine.

In the 1970s, over 3 million children were affected by measles, and even by 1997 the figure was still over 53,000 cases. Last year, only 787 cases were confirmed, with no deaths, which is believed to be a direct result of the measles vaccination campaign that began in 1997. From January to August of this year, only 39 cases have been registered, a reduction of 87.2% on the figure for the same period in 1999.

The NHF hopes to vaccinate at least 95% of children between 9 months and 4 years of age for polio and children between 9 months and 11 years of age for measles.

In the last phase of the programme, health officials report that more than 650,000 children, mostly in the northernmost states of Brazil, were not vaccinated against measles. Sparse health services and poor accessibility make vaccination extremely difficult, particularly in states such as Amazonas and Para.

The Ministry of Health said in its statement that "with the effective participation of the state and municipal authorities, [eradication of measles and polio] will constitute a great victory for Brazilian public health."

The full text of the article can be found at

White House Fact Sheet: The United States and Nigeria: Joining Forces to Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the White House:

Today, at the National Center for Women Development in Abuja, Nigeria, President Clinton announced more than $20 million to support President Obasanjo's aggressive campaigns against malaria, polio and HIV/AIDS, and recognized President Obasanjo's extraordinary efforts to mobilize other African leaders in these battles.

President Clinton and President Obasanjo pledged to join forces to fight HIV/AIDS and other devastating diseases. Joined by youth groups, people living with AIDS, religious leaders, business leaders, unions, women's groups, and the military, Presidents Clinton and Obasanjo reinforced the need for leadership, resources and action by all segments of society to combat HIV/AIDS. The two leaders highlighted and praised the efforts of Nigeria's non-governmental organizations, including the Society of Women Against AIDS in Nigeria, the Muslim Sisters Organization and the Nigerian Network of People Living with AIDS.

The Clinton-Gore Administration's commitments to Nigeria include:

-- $9.4 million in FY 2000 for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, including care of orphans;

-- $8.7 million in FY 2000 for polio eradication to support Nigeria's participation in Africa's largest-ever coordinated public health initiative -- the vaccination of every child under age five in 17 West and Central African countries;

-- $2 million in FY 2000 for a new public-private partnership to produce insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria;

-- $500,000 in the FY 2001 budget request for a Department of Labor program to initiate workplace-based HIV/AIDS education and prevention; and

-- A new Department of Defense effort to assist with HIV/AIDS prevention, training, and education of Nigerian defense forces.

Other polio-related information contained in the press release include:

-- This year, the Clinton-Gore Administration contributed $120 million to the international campaign to eradicate polio.

-- Polio has been eradicated from much of the world; however, more than 20 countries still report the disease. Last year there were 6000 new cases, nearly 1000 in Nigeria alone.

The full text of the article of which the above is an extract can be found at

Zero polio stage: We're almost there!

The Times of India reported from Mumbai on 6th September:

We may not have succeeded in eradicating polio completely by the year 2000, but the concerted efforts being put in are surely taking us closer to the zero polio stage.

In Mumbai, efforts by the BMC's health department and other NGOs have managed to bring down the number of polio cases from 130 in 1994 to just three in 1999. Most states in the country have also reported a sharp decline in the number of polio cases over the years.

The Pulse Polio Immunisation (PPI) campaign in India, which is part of a global programme to eradicate Poliomyelitis, began in 1995. And over the years, it has achieved considerable success. Allied in the campaign to eradicate polio are health ministries and their workers, Rotary International, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), donor governments, NGOs and thousands of volunteers.

Before the immunisation programme was introduced, parents arbitrarily took their children to the doctor for routine vaccination, which was clearly ineffective. The Pulse Polio campaign's focus has been simultaneous administration of the vaccine to all children in the country who are less than five years old.

Poliomyelitis is an infectious, potentially crippling disease, causing life long disability or even death of the individual. This disease is transmitted by a virus through the faeco-oral route. Besides the routine booster dosage for all newborns, the BMC's health department also has Mop Up Rounds, when extra doses of OPV (oral polio vaccine) are given to children in slums and polio pockets in the city. In addition, the civic administration also carries out Ring Immunisation for Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), which is paralysis of the limbs in children. This entails additional doses of OPV given to 5,000 children in affected areas within 24 to 48 hours, and again after a month. Under the surveillance system, every case of Acute Flaccid Paralysis is to be reported to the health department. After testing the stools of these children for the presence of polio causing virus, the cases are classified into polio and non-polio.

Chandrashekhar Joshi, district chairman for the Pulse Polio programme for Rotary district 3140, says, "It's a positive scene in Mumbai. This year so far, there has been only one reported case. Not only in Mumbai, but across the country, the number of cases has dropped tremendously. From 1,126 virologically positive cases last year, the number has come down to 90 this year."

According to Joshi, Rotary International has looked upon 2005 as the year by which polio will be eradicated. And going by the positive results till now, this surely seems attainable.

The full text of the article can be found at

Bill Gates, visiting India, gives children polio drops.

The Boston Globe ( carried the following report by Neelesh Misra of Associated Press from New Delhi, India on 14th September:

Bill Gates, on a 24-hour trip to India, gave polio vaccine to squealing children at a clinic Thursday and said he was using more of his wealth to fight disease in developing counties.

After arriving in a Mercedes at the polio clinic, which was ringed with dozens of security guards, the Microsoft chairman and world's richest man squeezed drops from a small bottle into the mouths of 30 children and held their heads as they shook and yanked at their mothers.

"They don't like the taste, I don't think. Does it taste funny?" Gates said as he fed the medicine and an infant squirmed in his mother's arms. He sat on an old, wooden bench in a doctor's room, wearing blue trousers and a light blue shirt with small checks.

"Very cute," he said of some children. "They really got dressed up for this. You all look very nice this morning." A volunteer translated the sentences to the women and children, all from poor families.

India has been home to almost half the polio cases in the world, but health officials say the disease is now set to be wiped out in the country.

Most of the mothers at the clinic had never heard of Gates, who is on a daylong visit to India to join celebrations marking 10 years of his company's operations in the country.

Later Thursday, Gates announced an alliance with India's emerging information technology giant, Infosys Technologies, for developing and delivering a portfolio of Infosys business solutions on the Microsoft .Net platform.

At the clinic, Gates joined his hands in a traditional Indian greeting and bowed. He inquired about the red mark that married Indian women apply on their foreheads, and asked whether most of the women present in the large room wore veils in their homes.

"No wedding ring," he said as he noticed their hands, and laughed. Many Indian women do not wear wedding rings.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a $750 million gift to start a fund to fight diseases, Gates told The Associated Press in an interview.

"Of all the money that I am giving away toward health, a lot of it is focused on developing countries. ... India features in a lot of the things that we think about doing," Gates said.

"People probably expect me to focus mostly on giving away computers and stuff, and I do quite a bit of that, but I have decided that what is most important is people having healthy children," Gates said in the interview.

His foundation, which will award two grants totaling $30 million for children and students in India, is helping international agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Organization eradicate polio by the year 2005 described as the biggest health campaign ever, involving 10 million workers worldwide.

More than 470 million children were immunized across the world last year, 147 million of them in India.

The full text of the article can be found at

See also:
The Las Vegas Sun : Gates Visits Kids During India Trip.

Yahoo/Reuters: Bill Gates Says Health More Important Than Tech.

Study: Booster shots can protect babies from polio in Third World.

The following Associated Press report appeared in the Daily Southtown ( on 14th September:

Giving a booster shot in addition to the oral polio vaccine is the best way to ensure that babies in Third World countries are protected from the virus, a study found.

In industrialized countries, three doses of oral vaccine are 95 percent effective in protecting children. But the rate in developing countries is as low as 65 percent, perhaps because youngsters there are resistant to the vaccine or the vaccine is not properly refrigerated.

In a study, researchers gave either booster shots or extra doses of an oral vaccine to 785 9-month-old babies in Oman who had already gotten five doses of oral vaccine. Only the booster shots proved effective.

The booster shots kept antibody levels high for at least six months, Dr. Roland W. Sutter of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

The polio vaccine works by spurring the immune system to make protective antibodies. Polio shots contain dead polio virus; the oral vaccine contains a live but weakened virus.

Although it has been nine years since the last case of polio in the Western Hemisphere, the virus is still found in 30 countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The full text of the article can be found at

The New England Journal of Medicine article referenced:
The New England Journal of Medicine -- September 14, 2000 -- Vol. 343, No. 11.
Trial of a Supplemental Dose of Four Poliovirus Vaccines.
Roland W. Sutter, Ali Jaffer M. Suleiman, Pradeep Malankar, Saleh Al-Khusaiby, Firdosi Mehta, Geoff B. Clements, Mark A. Pallansch, Susan E. Robertson.

See also:
Shot plus vaccine can prevent polio in developing countries, study finds.

Workers aim to eradicate polio in Somalia.

Desertnews ( carried the following Associated Press report from Qansadhere, Somalia:

Somalia recorded the world's last known case of smallpox more than two decades ago. Six thousand workers fanning out across the country, vaccines in hand, hope their beleaguered nation will not be the last to eradicate polio as well.

Armed with batches of oral polio vaccine and bottles of liquid vitamin A, the workers headed into the field Tuesday. They hope to reach 1.4 million children over the next three days in the nation of an estimated 10 million people.

That means each worker will have to deposit two drops of vaccine and two drops of vitamin A on the tongues of 233 kids under age 5.

"Somalia is still classified as a polio high-risk area by the World Health Organization after several cases were diagnosed last year," said Stephen Lauwerier, coordinator of the campaign sponsored jointly by WHO and the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF. "Somalia was the last place smallpox was eradicated in 1978, and the local community doesn't want to be the last place where polio is eradicated, too."

Awilyo Mohamed's 3-year-old daughter, Nasteexo, wailed along with the other children when the drops hit her mouth, but her mother said she was happy with the program.

"I didn't know about it at all until we heard about the vaccinations on the radio," Mohamed said.

The polio immunization program in Somalia, part of a continent-wide program to kick polio out of Africa, began in 1997. It has run into more problems than other national campaigns because the country has been without a central government and nationwide security since it plunged into civil war in 1991.

Lauwerier said parts of southern Somalia and the area including the capital, Mogadishu, are not included in this year's initial exercise because of lack of security. But he said organizers still hope the entire country can be reached before the next two phases, from Oct. 14-16 and Nov. 14-16, are completed.

"As a community, we ... are happy about the vaccination exercise," said Mohamed Ali Asen Qalinle, governor of Baidoa, a region to the east of this town.

Until a year ago, Baidoa and the surrounding area had been engulfed in fighting between opposing clan-based militias and had missed out on the polio campaign. The governor said his administration was helping mobilize people to bring their children for treatment. His officials also are providing security for the vaccinators, who have to travel long distances to isolated, dusty villages where a long drought has ravaged the staple crops.

"We are trying our best to save our children from this mortal disease," Qalinle said.

The full text of the article can be found at,1249,195013603,00.html?

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

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex

[ Index ]

12th September 2000
Obituary: Sir Julian Critchley.

Sir Julian Critchley, journalist, author and Conservative MP for Rochester and Chatham, 1959-64, and for Aldershot, 1970-97, was born on December 8, 1930. He died on September 9 aged 69.

The London Times ( writes of Sir Julian Critchley:

Julian Critchley was one of the last free spirits to sit in the House of Commons. He was an unlikely figure to represent true-blue regimental Aldershot, and indeed an improbable Conservative. He described some of his younger colleagues memorably as "garagistes and arrivistes", and summed up the worst aspects of the Tory Old Guard as "jingoism, anti-Semitism, obscurantism, cant and self-righteousness".

He betrayed little fear of the whips, and showed no respect at all for the leadership once Margaret Thatcher had arrived. He did, however, retain a wary respect for Ted Heath and a lifelong admiration for Harold Macmillan.

What really marked him out, though, was perhaps the most dangerous sense of humour in the Commons for the total of 32 years he sat there. This kept him from office and aborted his career as a serious politician, but provided him with a reasonable income from irreverent journalism and brought him the affectionate, if sometimes exasperated, admiration of all but the stuffier spirits at Westminster.

The Daily Telegraph ( describes his early years:

Julian Michael Gordon Critchley was born on December 8 1930, the son of an eminent neurologist, Macdonald Critchley, who was once described by Jonathan Miller as the greatest medical philosopher since Locke. Julian Critchley later made much of the sense of inferiority engendered by having such a brilliant father. "Sadly," he was to remember with self-deprecating snobbery, "our house was just in NW6." They drank wine with their meals, but there was also a bottle of HP sauce on the table with the rissoles.

A shy, sensitive boy, he was much bullied at Brockhurst preparatory school, where he developed a lifelong phobia of water as a result of being constantly ducked on the end of a rope by a master who believed it was the way to teach timid pupils how to swim.

Critchley went on to Shrewsbury, where he encountered Michael Heseltine who, though more than two years younger, would become a fast friend. After they had both gone on to Pembroke College, Oxford (in Critchley's case, with a year at the Sorbonne beforehand), they returned to Shrewsbury to propose the motion that the public schools were "breeding grounds of class privilege, intellectually narrow and conformist, and a gross encouragement to homosexual practices".

By his own admission, Critchley was a difficult boy. He objected to being confirmed, but gave in to the authority of his housemaster. "A notice went up saying the Bishop of Lichfield would confirm Salopians on such-and-such a day: 'On no account will hair-dressing be used.' Since no one except oiks used Brylcreem, this was regarded as highly offensive."

At least, though, he was not bullied at Shrewsbury. He was now powerfully built; an uncle had taught him boxing (though his father was a vehement opponent, having ample neurological evidence of the damage it did). The sport remained a passion for the rest of his life, and from 1987 he was a steward of the British Boxing Board of Control.

Aged 19, he was stricken by polio and left lame and with a slight stutter. At Oxford his friendship with Michael Heseltine prospered, though they had such a Left-wing reputation that the University Conservative Association refused them membership. They retaliated by forming a rival radical Conservative "Blue Ribbon" Club. When the Conservative Association lifted its ban in 1953, Critchley was elected secretary.

Later, his relations with Michael Heseltine would be turbulent. In the 1960s, Heseltine made him editor of Town magazine, but sacked him after two years. It was hardly Critchley's fault; during the six years of its existence Town never made money, and it folded shortly after he left. In 1987, he would publish an irreverent but perceptive biography, Heseltine - the Unauthorised Biography. Later, he liked to recall Elspeth Howe watching him as best man at Heseltine's wedding and declaring: "What a couple of shits!"

After Oxford, he went into advertising and public relations. By 1956 he was a senior executive with Lintas; but he still aimed at a political career. He was elected to the Young Conservatives National Committee, and within three years was in the Commons - at 29, the youngest member - after a dramatic victory over a former Labour minister, Arthur Bottomley, at Rochester and Chatham.

A glittering future beckoned. He was handsome, witty and urbane, even if a vestige of social insecurity made him remember all his life the double-barrelled Tory grandee who rebuked him for wearing suede shoes, and another who told him that a proper suit had four buttons on the cuff.

Increasingly, Critchley was sought after to grace Tory functions, but, with a courage rare in a new member, he soon demonstrated his independence in backing causes that were anathema to most Tories. He joined with the veteran Labour campaigner Fenner Brockway in sponsoring a Bill outlawing racial discrimination; he campaigned for homosexual law reform and the abolition of capital punishment.

He became increasingly repelled by what he saw as the social elitism of Harold Macmillan's Tory party and was a passionate pro-European. One of Edward Heath's staunchest backbench allies, he supported him in the bitter internal party feud over the abolition of resale price maintenance.

"The Tory party is not the party of the small shopkeeper," Critchley declared, a remark that may have contributed to his defeat at the general election of 1964. He stood again at Rochester and Chatham in 1966, but unsuccessfully. In the political wilderness, Critchley continued campaigning on the party's Left, becoming chairman of the Bow Group in 1966.

His search for a winnable seat for long proved unavailing; effectively blackballed by the Whips, he received no help from Central Office. Then, shortly before the election of 1970, and to universal astonishment, he was selected for Aldershot and North Hants. The retired generals and brigadiers in the constituency were ready to cast a blind eye to his idiosyncratic views on homosexuals and hanging because he charmed their wives, and took a strong line on defence.

Critchley had not cooked up this policy for the Aldershot selectors: in his maiden speech in 1959, he had urged higher priority for conventional weapons. His good reputation with the Senior Service at Rochester and Chatham also stood him in good stead. Over the years, he warned against Western Europe's over-dependence on American military power, advocating the re-introduction of conscription and the creation of an Anglo-French nuclear partnership.

However, the going was not always easy in his Aldershot constituency. He enjoyed writing of constituency meetings; when black rule in Africa came up, "it was so emotive an issue that even the labradors in the audience were moved to discordancy". He twice faced attempts to deselect him. The second effort actually came after "That Bloody Woman" was dethroned. But he survived the wrath of her supporters.

Critchley was a noted bon viveur, though often financially hard-pressed. It was mostly to earn money that he began to write; and from 1962 to 1964 he was a director of the Spectator. Another lifeline came when The Daily Telegraph appointed him restaurant critic. In his early sixties, damage to his spine, caused by his limp and worsened by an operation that went disastrously wrong, left him increasingly crippled.

Eventually he was wheelchair-bound and only able to write by using a portable word processor while lying on his side. He endured pain with fortitude and humour. He proved a resolute supporter of John Major, and was always diligent in his constituents' interests.

In spite of his ill health - to add to his troubles, he was found to have prostate cancer in 1992 - he made determined efforts to vote in important divisions, using a rule permitting a sick member's vote to be counted if he was in a car within the Commons' precincts. In 1997 Critchley was obliged by his health to retire from Parliament. He went to live at Ludlow, and declared that he would not vote Conservative in the constituency because the Tory MP held Thatcherite views.

The full text of the obituaries from which the above is extracted can be found at:
The London Times
The Daily Telegraph

Sir Julian Critchley was a Vice-Patron of the British Polio Fellowship.

See also:
Critchley - buried by the Tories
by Simon Hoggart - London Evening Standard
Sir Julian Critchley, colorful former lawmaker, dies at 69
The Boston Globe/Associated Press

[ Index ]

28th September 2000
Item 1
[The London Times] Polio can kill in hours
Item 2
[USA Today] Polio aftereffects challenge science
Item 3
Obituary: David M. Abel.
27th September 2000
United Nations first Global Polio Partners Summit.
25th September 2000
Department of Health's position on PPS.
22nd September 2000
Virginia Polio Epidemic 50th Anniversary.
21st September 2000
UK TV C4 Secret History "Children of the iron lung" broadcast tonight.
20th September 2000
Polio Virus Eradication: UP lags behind in polio eradication.
15th September 2000
Item 1
No evidence AIDS triggered by vaccine
Item 2
New Support Group in Laguna Woods
Item 3
Polio Virus Eradication Roundup.
12th September 2000
Obituary: Sir Julian Critchley.
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