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Child in “Polio-like Cluster” Linked to California’s Winemaking Industry

By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

One of the five children in the cluster of polio-like paralysis cases around San Francisco is the daughter of professional winemakers, seeming to strengthen the possibility we raised Tuesday that exposure to agricultural chemicals could be a factor in the cases.

Sofia Jarvis, whose story was reported on ABC and other national outlets, is the daughter of Jessica Tomei (above) and Jeff Jarvis, husband-wife co-owners of JarvisTomei winery. Jessica Tomei is also listed as director of international winemaking for Cupcake vineyards in Livermore, California. She has a degree in viticulture from the University of California, Davis, and according to her Linked In profile, her duties at Cupcake include "vineyard management." The family lives in Berkeley.

In a story Tuesday, we wrote that the new outbreak -– five confirmed paralysis cases from Monterey up through the San Francisco Bay Area, and about 20 more statewide as far away as San Diego -- echoes early outbreaks of actual poliomyelitis in the 1890s. Three of the first 12 polio clusters in the United States occurred in California – in the San Francisco area, in the San Joaquin Valley, and in San Francisco and Napa.

In 2011, we published a series of articles, The Age of Polio, which suggested that those and subsequent outbreaks were triggered not by the poliovirus alone but in combination with a new pesticide that came on the market then, lead arsenate. We proposed that when someone with an active polio infection -- usually a child not yet immune to the virus -- ate produce treated with the pesticide, the toxin could allow the virus to reach the spine, causing the paralytic and sometimes fatal disease called poliomyelitis. 

In that series and again on Tuesday, we wrote that the presence of the San Jaoquin Valley among early outbreaks pointed to an agricultural vector as the cause (as did several  other locales), and that the San Francisco/Napa cluster specifically suggested “widespread early use of lead arsenate in grape-growing country.” Lead arsenate was replaced as a pesticide by DDT, and DDT in turn by newer and supposedly safer chemicals that are nonetheless toxic by design to living things. So the idea that successor pesticides, similar in effect to lead arsenate and DDT, could still be triggering paralysis in children infected with a virus similar to polio made sense to us.

In a brief conversation Tuesday afternoon, Jessica Tomei seemed skeptical of the idea that agricultural chemicals played any role in 4-year-old Sofia’s illness. “We don’t have vineyards,” she said of the company she owns with her husband. “This happened at the end of harvest in November [2012]. She was not with me at any of those vineyards.”

Tomei said doctors “did test for metals, Lyme disease, all kinds of things,” but didn’t come up with anything. “They’re thinking more viral.”

In a subsequent e-mail, she wrote that “I am not an expert in this so I cannot comment.  The idea of bringing attention to this is to have people start collaborating to figure out what might have caused it.”

According to published accounts of the new outbreak, doctors believe that a rare and virulent type of enterovirus – usually a benign stomach bug -- might be involved. Scans of the children showed damage to the spine. They said the virus could not have been polio – also an enterovirus – because all the children had received polio vaccine. In the United States, polio vaccine is made from  killed poliovirus, so the possibility that the vaccine itself could have induced paralysis is extremely remote.  (We have asked, but not yet been able, to interview the doctors.)

Officials say there’s no reason for alarm. "We want to temper the concern, because at the moment, it does not appear to represent a major epidemic but only a very rare phenomenon," Dr. Keith Van Haren said at a Stanford press conference attended by Sofia and her parents. State epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez said his department “has not identified any common causes that suggest that the cases are linked.”

But needless to say, the potential for more cases of a serious ailment of unknown origin is troubling. And the fact that the only family so far identified fits a profile we had already proposed strikes us as potentially significant. But without evidence of an actual toxic exposure, or similar connections among the other cases, the possibility remains speculative.

Still, the clues are intriguing. Pesticide usage for wine grapes has expanded rapidly in California in recent years. Like DDT, some old chemicals have seen declines in usage. But new compounds aimed at paralyzing the nervous systems of living things continue to come on the market, supposedly in safer and more targeted formulations, one step behind the pests they are trying to subdue.  Despite efforts to monitor and reduce pesticide usage, the pressure to satisfy America’s growing taste for wine in the face of these new threats is inexorable.

In August of last year, according to The Grower, a new troublemaker arrived: “Winegrape pest turns up in Napa County.”

“Two small populations of Virginia creeper leafhopper have been confirmed in Napa County,” the publication reported, bringing to three the number of California counties where this invasive pest has been found.”


Dan Olmsted is Editor and Mark Blaxill Editor at Large of Age of Autism. They are co-authors of the book The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic.



The important thing to understand is that we will never be told the real truth. The 'experts' may or may not know what is causing this 'outbreak', but will not tell us either way, as it would undoubtedly point to pesticides, vaccines and/or other government pushed/supported programs. Worse-case scenario, they may know exactly what is causing it because they caused it - intentionally. In any case, they will NOT tell the truth, but only what they want us to believe. Frankly, what we have been told about 'viruses' are half-truths at best. Most of today's so-called 'viruses' have likely been modified to inflict harm, as naturally occurring 'viruses' exist to assist our body in dealing with toxic waste. The entire concept of naturally occurring deadly 'viruses' floating around waiting to attack is more fiction than science. Don't take my word (or the 'experts') for it - do your own homework.


What about radiation fallout from Japan? That, in addition to the ongoing pesticides…bad mix


Lexi, I'd like to think they are no more than vapor, condensation trails. I'd also like to think children matter before profit in a vaccine schedule. That our food supply isn't tainted and that nestle wouldn't subject us to mad cow.
I no longer tell my kids, "that ain't so", because on so many levels we are letting greed , our politics and our "revised" faith skew basic humanity, anything is possible.


We live in a 65 acre vineyard in South Australia. Our children are not vaccinated. No problems. Our son gets 'fevers' though, that last a few days. Nothing over 41, and no illness to go with it. He's had them for about 3 years...

I definitely think environmental issues are a factor, but vaccines most definitely play their part. Neither totally responsible... Stop loading up the systems with crap, and all will balance out.


GEOENGINEERING-CHEMICAL TRAILS-has anyone noticed hundreds of jets in the area spraying overhead ? this is a heavy spray area for SOLAR RADIATION MANAGMENT/ GEOENGINEERING. we all eat the grapes- we all drink the wine- they are spraying the whole country,people all over the country are getting ill & dropping dead from "mystery illness's"-does ANYONE LOOK UP & SEE THE HUNDREDS OF MILITARY JETS SPRAYING US ALL EVERY DAY? for petes sake LOOK UP we are all being sprayed by chemicals-the whole country is being sprayed by CHEMTRAIL JETS-our governemnt is spraying us all-LOOK UP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqQDlw8GDHs&list=HL1393487760

Nicole March

I had a thought a while ago, that polio may still exist but isn't tested for. Most people with polio show no symptoms. Other have flu like symptoms. When people feel like they have the flu, most of the time, they stay home. Or a doctor will diagnose based on symptoms only. What if many people are actually contracting polio, along with the flu? No one would even know. What if these children got looked at only because they were paralyzed? I haven't read even once that they were actually tested for polio. Only that they can't have it because they have been vaccinated. Once an unvaccinated child has this happen to them, then we will hear that polio is back. They always need to blame the unvaccinated.


I wish we knew more about the children. The little girl was being treated for asthma, and...as a parent of an asthmatic I know the ER is always trying to give the prednisolone in a quick shot. I wonder if all of these kids had a "shot", be it vaccine, b12, or prednisolone? I wonder ,as well if the arm or leg involved matches to the shot site? This "could" parallel the stories of the wild virus in relationship to such punctures. I agree Hera, there is nothing telling us it isn't polio, and wonder if a titer level could answer the question.


Hmm, looks they are testing a new vaccine with enterovirus- 71, which causes paralysis. I suspect a connection.


Jeannette Bishop

I'm always doing this, but I assumed if a group had "polio-like" symptoms and officials are saying absolutely "this isn't polio" then they had at least checked for polio (especially as we are always being reminded from some vectors how little vaccines protect the vaccinated when their might be an unvaccinated individual around). In an effort to not assume so much, I have to ask, stupid as it may be, if it is actually established that the polio virus itself causes all paralysis associated with the infection or is it possibly, at least sometimes, due to the action of a toxic immune system...?

Another note, if a contaminated vaccine or possibly live polio vaccine is involved, we might have to check not just the vaccine status and lot numbers of those affected, but consider the vaccine history of those around these children/individuals.


Ah, MadMamaBear, you and I posted at about the same time. We seem to be on the same page...


I suspect some vaccines. In VAERS there are nearly 1500 reported cases of paralysis after vaccinations, mostly flu, IPV, OPV, DTPa, MMR, HPV, Hep-B etc.

Roger Kulp

Most French wine grapes and French wine has pesticide and fungicide residue

But even the industry says that vineyard workers are in greater danger of health problems than consumers.


No mention of course of what would happen if these workers had children.

david m burd

@Taximan5 --- You are not the only one asking about Flu and other vaccines, and their propensity to causing paralysis. I cited earlier on this thread the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) and the Flu vaccines as candidates causing such.

david m burd


Am I the only one wondering whether these children were part of the test group for the next Gardasil-for-infants, or whether they'd all recently received a flu shot or other vaccine from the same batch?

Remember, the vaccine manufacturers do everything possible to steer the conversation away from bad batches....


A complete vaccination history is warranted. Including the specific lots and timing for each vaccine that each of these children received MUST be seriously considered and investigated.


N. CA has had a European Grapevine Moth problem (EGVM) for several yrs. http://cisr.ucr.edu/european_grapevine_moth.html

In 2012, there was a agriculture quarantine for Sonoma Cty which indicates a 'serious problem'. There was also a problem in S. CA with the light brown apple moth (LBAM) and Asian Citris Psyllid (ACP). As I recall, some of the health problems began in 2012.
[note- zoom out to get a full picture of CA)

recommended controls

IT would be interesting to know where these varied folks who have this paralysis reside.


Autismmom, Barbaraj;
I think it is possible that this is pesticide related. But it is also possible that what these children have is actually polio.
The vaccine was changed a while ago; the live vaccine that used to be given provided better protection but also caused polio in some people. The current (dead) polio vaccine is known to be less effective at actually preventing polio.

If doctors get the stool samples early enough they can find out if someone was infected with wild polio or the vaccine polio strain.
I am cynical enough to wonder if because these children were all fully vaccinated, no one wanted to look very hard to see if they had actually caught polio, particularly in case what the kids had was an infection with the vaccine version of the virus.
And for vaccinated children there is only a very short period of time ( about 14 to 15 days after paralysis sets in) where they can be checked for polio in the stool.

It is intriguing though, that despite all the talk of growing numbers of non vaccinating parents, it appears, at least at this time, that it is only vaccinated children who are getting this illness.


"The intermediate syndrome is a delayed-onset of muscular weakness and paralysis following an episode of acute cholinesterase inhibitor poisoning. It is so named because it can occur between 24-96 hours (1-4 days) after resolution of the acute cholinergic toxidrome and the onset of organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN) which has been reported to occur 2-3 weeks after resolution of the acute toxidrome. (Karalliedde and Senanayake 1989; Kwong 2002) (OPIDN is discussed in Part 6.)" - Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Source: "Cholinesterase Inhibitors: Including Insecticides and Chemical Warfare Nerve Agents
Part 5: The Intermediate Syndrome", ATSDR

More: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=11&po=28


I'd be surprised if this illness were limited to kids. I think when it happens with adults, doctors are less likely to report it, thinking there are other health issues going on.

When it happened to my husband in July 2012, in the San Francisco bay area, doctors simply said they didn't know. A sudden paralysis of the arm, for no apparent reason. No recent illness, and no vaccines for over a decade. Five months after the paralysis began, on the hunch it could be some sort of autoimmunity, he tried low dose naltrexone and high dose B vitamins, and quickly regained the use of his arm. I wonder if the same treatments could help these kids, although after being paralyzed for so long, of course they would need physical therapy as well.

By the way, we don't live near any farms or vineyards, and he hadn't visited any recently. We live in a very urban part of the Bay Area.


Nice Post Dan/Mark, wondered when you'd weigh in- I find it ironic that Ms Tomei claims to not have any vineyards but appears in a ... vineyard.

Apparently, the locals in N. CA have been up in arms about the extensive use of varied pesticides (including RoundUp, lead arsenate cpds, etc) for quite some time.

The organic winery folks have also weighed in with some sobering chemical data regarding pesticide use in Viticulture

Other No California citizen's groups have been active as well and trying to pinpoint local wineries which use considerable amounts of pesticides near school / residential areas.

Yes, the CA dept of public health (Dr Glaser) and Stanford University (Dr Van Haren) can go ahead & look for a biological agent such as enterovirus XX but suspect there remains more to the chemical poisoning side of things than an actual microbial agent.


(Allowable) Pesticide Residues in Food and Feed

Source: Codex Alimentarius: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/pestres/data/commodities/details.html?id=113

FB 0269 – Grapes

Maximum Residue Limits for Grapes

Pesticide MRL Year of Adoption Symbols Note

Saflufenacil 0.01 mg/Kg 2012
Haloxyfop 0.02 mg/Kg 2011 (*) Intake concern expressed by the EU (42-65)
Emamectin benzoate 0.03 mg/Kg 2012
Fenpyroximate 0.1 mg/Kg 2011
Difenoconazole 0.1 mg/Kg 2008
Meptyldinocap 0.2 mg/Kg 2011 M,d The maximum residue level accommodates the residues derived from the use of dinocap on fruiting vegetables, cucumbers. The Meeting recommended to re-evaluate the current CXL of 0.05*.

Cypermethrins (including alpha- and zeta- cypermethrin) 0.2 mg/Kg 2009
Penconazole 0.2 mg/Kg 1997
Deltamethrin 0.2 mg/Kg 2004
Spirodiclofen 0.2 mg/Kg 2010
Flusilazole 0.2 mg/Kg 2008
Aldicarb 0.2 mg/Kg 1997
Benalaxyl 0.3 mg/Kg 2010
Azocyclotin 0.3 mg/Kg 2006
Cyhexatin 0.3 mg/Kg 2006
Fenarimol 0.3 mg/Kg 1999
Methomyl 0.3 mg/Kg 2009
Etoxazole 0.5 mg/Kg 2011
Acetamiprid 0.5 mg/Kg 2012
Chlorpyrifos 0.5 mg/Kg 2003
Cycloxydim 0.5 mg/Kg 1997 Withdrawal recommended (JMPR 2012)
Dinocap 0.5 mg/Kg 2003 D,m
Spinozad 0.5 mg/Kg 2005
Parathion-Methyl 0.5 mg/Kg 2004
Bifenazate 0.7 mg/Kg 2007
Clothianidin 0.7 mg/Kg 2012 C,t The source of the residue is clothianidin, for which the residue definition is being reconsidered. The CCPR noted that clothianidin is a metabolite of thiamethoxam (245) and that new data to support a reconsideration of the residue definition were available from the manufacturer for consideration by JMPR in 2011 (43-71:72).

Hexythiazox 1 mg/Kg 2010
Fenbuconazole 1 mg/Kg 1999
Myclobutanil 1 mg/Kg 1997
Imidacloprid 1 mg/Kg 2004
Methidathion 1 mg/Kg 1999
Kresoxim-Methyl 1 mg/Kg 2001
Ethephon 1 mg/Kg 2001
Methoxyfenozide 1 mg/Kg 2005
Buprofezin 1 mg/Kg 2010
Metalaxyl 1 mg/Kg
Chlorpyrifos-Methyl 1 mg/Kg 2010
Flubendiamide 2 mg/Kg 2011
Clofentezine 2 mg/Kg 2008
Pyraclostrobin 2 mg/Kg 2006
Spirotetramate 2 mg/Kg 2009
Fluopyram 2 mg/Kg 2011
Indoxacarb 2 mg/Kg 2006
Famoxadone 2 mg/Kg 2005
Permethrin 2 mg/Kg
Mandipropamid 2 mg/Kg 2009
Tebufenozide 2 mg/Kg 2004
Dimethomorph 2 mg/Kg 2008
Azoxystrobin 2 mg/Kg 2009
Fludioxonil 2 mg/Kg 2006
Fluopicolide 2 mg/Kg 2010
Quinoxyfen 2 mg/Kg 2007
Bromopropylate 2 mg/Kg 1997
Trifloxystrobin 3 mg/Kg 2006
Cyprodinil 3 mg/Kg 2005
Dithianon 3 mg/Kg 1997
Carbendazim 3 mg/Kg 2008 b,Th
Chlorothalonil 3 mg/Kg 2011
Tolylfluanid 3 mg/Kg 2004
Pyrimethanil 4 mg/Kg 2008
Dicofol 5 mg/Kg 1997 Withdrawal recommended (JMPR 2012)
Dithiocarbamates 5 mg/Kg 2005 C,m,n
Fenbutatin Oxide 5 mg/Kg 1995
Zoxamide 5 mg/Kg 2008
Malathion 5 mg/Kg 2006 The Committee noted the CXL was based on European GAPs which no longer existed. The Committee agreed to retain the CXL, awaiting the outcome of the periodic review by JMPR to be considered in 2014 for scheduling. (42-31,32)
Boscalid 5 mg/Kg 2010
Fenpropathrin 5 mg/Kg 1997
Tebuconazole 6 mg/Kg 2012
Propargite 7 mg/Kg 2004
Dichloran 7 mg/Kg 2004
Phosmet 10 mg/Kg 1999
Folpet 10 mg/Kg 2006
Iprodione 10 mg/Kg
Dichlofluanid 15 mg/Kg
Fenhexamid 15 mg/Kg 2006
Captan 25 mg/Kg 2008
Amitrole 50 mg/Kg 2004
(*) At or about the limit of determination.

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CODEX Pesticides Home Commodities Pesticides Search Functional Classes

© FAO and WHO 2013


I failed to mention that coxsackie as a waterborne illness would possibly be in those spray tanks. Not necessarily separate exposures.
Interesting that we can't imagine killed polio virus infecting, again, how carefully is the virus handled, how are the materials disposed, could the pathogen get into rivers and streams, how close is the outbreak to any pharma manufacturing?


Even though vaccines are the culprit in our kids autism, in this California case I think we are dealing with a poisoning. I think the enterovirus-68 may be present in these kids but it is a red herring. I looked up Enterovirus-68 symptoms and they are respiratory not paralytic. These kids do not seem to have had contact with eachother (so as to transmit a virus) but they do live in area where pesticides are widely used.


Hi all,
I know and agree that non organic grapes do indeed use pesticides etc; but it is also true that grapes are one of the crops that are susceptible to damage from round up
To be blunt they are spraying round up and other pesticides much more here than they do in California; at least annually, so we have probably had at least 4 or 5 times as much round up sprayed in my area since 2010, since grapes can't even survive. Here, they regularly kill the peas at the end of the season with herbicide because peas are easier to harvest that way. And after the seasonal crop is done,( wheat, lentils etc) since burns are no longer allowed, herbicide spray kills whatever is left of the old crop so a new crop can be planted.
It can't just be the round up, since at least in grape country they are not saturating the ground to kill the grape vines every year..
Could be some pesticide that is preferred for use on grapes, maybe, that is a contributing factor??


Hi Mark,
Forgive me if I'm not understanding what you're saying, but BT is not the same as Roundup. BT is a bacterium that has been used in organic agriculture for many decades and truly is supposed to be safe. I believe that there are genetically engineered crops that have the BT gene spliced into them which is entirely different (and that is NOT safe IMO). But it doesn't look like that's what the article is referring to.


There was a boy in my now 28 year old sons grade school class who as a crawling baby was exposed from residue to farm pesticides on their carpeting as I recall the story. The boy was left to a life in a motorized. wheel chair a paraplegic. He was able to speak with difficulty. His mother was a teacher at the school and this was a well known story.


Recent flu vaccination? Recent tonsillectomy? (connected to original polio outbreak). What did these children have in common? Geography?


In 2011 there looks like there was widespread spraying of the area with Bacillus thuringiensis (BT- Roundup) to deal with Moths


quarantine maps Here


david m burd

@ Jenny, "Where (sic?) the kids all of similar age?"

Dan & Mark don't disclose the age of the vineyard/winery child (or did I miss it?), but they do say these 20+ cases come from as far away as San Diego, and many repetitious news articles cite many of the kids to be age 10-12, along with the most publicized case cited as age 3 (if I recall correctly).

As I said in a prior Post comment, California two years ago during their whooping cough hysteria legislated all kids age 10+ going into 7th Grade have to prove they have had the DTaP shots (the P is for pertussis); if not, they are coerced to getting yet another toxic shot. Also, the HPV vaccinations, notorious for causing paralysis, are pushed onto girls (and boys, too!) at age 9 or age 10.

What's remarkable (but typical), the Medical Regime stays mum about HPV shots or other vaccine shots as suspect in such paralysis that include Guillane Barre paralysis from various vaccines, including the Flu Shot (all possible harm, no benefit) now zealously promoted at least 6 months a year.

Of course, the other toxic exposures cited by Dan & Mark may be a "tipping point" in combination with a significant recent increase in the already massive vaccine overload.


Pesticides are allowed on wine grapes.

"Pesticide Fact Sheet: What’s in Your Wine?" Organic Vineyard Alliance


Here are two more articles pesticides in wine:

"Pesticide residues in wine: something to be concerned about? source: Wineorak.com


Study Raises Concerns Over Pesticide Residues in French Wines - Use is declining, but several leading supermarket brands show traces of chemicals


poisons abound
Louis Conte

Dan and Mark:
Very thought provoking. This is a reasonable theory.

I've cut and pasted an abstract about how, simian virus 40, identified by Dr. Bernice Eddy as a vaccine contaminant in the 1950's, could be a co-factor in mesothelioma. We've all heard that mesothelioma is caused by asbestos but it may well be that there are co-factors.

Dr. Eddy discovered SV-40 after she was transferred to a different section of the federal biologics lab - typical whistleblower treatment - after figuring out that the Cutter Labs Polio vaccine was causing polio because it still contained live polio entovirus.

I wouldn't profess any expertise on mesothelioma, but this type of complex interaction could well be why we are seeing encephalopathy from vaccine injuries from multiple types of vaccines (even harder to tease out when you give vaccines in batches). Some of these encephalopathies can include the behavioral disorder we call "autism".

We need to start researching complex environmental interactions leading to disease states - even if that means making the entities involved (pharma, pesticide producers, chemical companies, etc.) uncomfortable because it might just result in safer products.

Here is that abstract:

The relationship between simian virus 40 and mesothelioma.
Rivera Z1, Strianese O, Bertino P, Yang H, Pass H, Carbone M.
Author information 1Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and Department of Pathology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA .
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Simian virus 40 is present in some human malignant mesotheliomas. The evidence in favor and against a pathogenic role of simian virus 40 in malignant mesothelioma is discussed in this review.

RECENT FINDINGS: When simian virus 40 is injected intracardially into hamsters, 60% develop and die of malignant mesothelioma. Moreover, some human malignant mesotheliomas contain and express simian virus 40 DNA and proteins. To date, over 50 laboratories have detected simian virus 40 in malignant mesotheliomas and in other tumors; however, the variability of the percentage of positivity led to a controversy about the role and significance of simian virus 40 in malignant mesotheliomas. Compared with other cell types, human mesothelial cells are unusually susceptible to simian virus 40-induced malignant transformation. The presence of simian virus 40 in malignant mesothelioma has been associated with the activation of specific oncogene pathways. Cocarcinogenesis between simian virus 40 and asbestos in causing malignant mesotheliomas has been demonstrated in three separate research laboratories using different experimental approaches. Epidemiological data possibly linking simian virus 40 and malignant mesothelioma is lacking owing to unattainable identification of infected from noninfected cohorts.

SUMMARY: Available evidence appears sufficient to link simian virus 40 either alone or in conjunction with asbestos in causing malignant mesotheliomas; however, it is still insufficient to speculate about the contribution of simian virus 40 to the overall incidence of malignant mesotheliomas.




Just a hunch, broadcast spraying often requires a pesticide solution mixed in water. I don't know if some not so reputable companies siphon their water from nearby streams or if they have holding tanks, and I'm not sure that it matters. I do know that chemicals have a synergistic effect on many viruses. I suspect the pesticides are causing the Cossackie type virus to over replicate, mutate, enhance..etc..


Dr. Suzanne Humphries youtube video really describes the co-factors involved in Polio (pesticides) very well. Thanks for reporting on this. Interesting that they're saying not polio at this point.



Hi Dan; thank you for writing this article on a very scary topic.
Re pesticides and grape vines; we live in rural country ( wheat, peas, canola,etc are grown here) and pesticide and herbicide carrying planes will fly overhead and spray stuff from the air.

( By the way, did you know there is no requirement to notify people who live on or near the places that are going to be sprayed, when its going to happen? Our local farmers are great people, always willing to help out if you are caught in the snow, but they just don't see pesticides as something other people might want to avoid unfortunately. Several of us have asked them to call us first, but they seem to forget .)

When we moved here, my neighbor warned us that we would never be able to grow grapes, because they are especially sensitive to most pesticides, including the ones that our local farmers spray overhead. I'd be surprised if grapes are as pesticide laden as say cotton fields, which are notorious for being covered in pesticides.

If you get to talk to one of the doctors, do you think you could ask if fecal testing for polio shedding was done within 15 days of onset of paralysis.
From a quick read, it seems that serological testing cannot differentiate between vaccination and polio infection, but an infected person will shed polio in their stool following onset of paralysis, though the amount present decreases rapidly.
It sounds as though, if the stool is tested too late in the game, then the results would always be negative.
I do wonder how whether the drought is somehow involved in this.


uhmmmm - kids? vineyards? Non-organic grapejuice or grapes?

Anybody wondering about "hot lots" on their vaccines?

Or some morphed form of guillan barre. Where the kids all of similar age?


When I read your piece yesterday it reminded me of the outbreak in chimpanzees at Gombe in 1966 that Jane Goodall tells about. She says that the outbreak was traced to two villagers who came down with polio. I wonder what else was going on there, if agricultural chemicals were newly used in the area at the same time.


Thanks for your excellent reporting on this.


From the above article: "In a brief conversation Tuesday afternoon, Jessica Tomei seemed skeptical of the idea that agricultural chemicals played any role in 4-year-old Sofia’s illness. “We don’t have vineyards,” she said of the company she owns with her husband. “This happened at the end of harvest in November [2012]. She was not with me at any of those vineyards.”

what Ms. Tomei doesn't understand is the possibility chemical exposure as the result of cross contamination. if the parents were exposed to a pesticide it can adhere to their clothing, shoes, car upholstery it can be transported into the home and can create a still contact risk to the child. The child doesn't have to physically be in the Vineyard to be exposed.

In any case, EPA and/or CADEP should also be investigating this as possible chemical exposure. Epidemiologists are trained to track the spread of viral diseases, they are not trained chemical exposure. If these kids played together I would look at a viral source. It the cases a random (no conact between the kids) but within a geographic area I would look at chemical exposure to an airborne pesticide.


Any speculation as to why this has only affected children/ no adults so far?

beth johnson

This story is horrifying and fascinating, but what I really wanted to mention is that this is incredible journalism. There is much that can be gained by armchair sleuthing, and the nugget at the end about a new pest, just published last year and published in an agricultural journal is fantastic detective work. Keep up the great work, Dan and Mark!


Don't know much about vineyards and the grapes they produce from a table-grapes perspective, but I wonder if it's common to visit a vineyard - late season - and bring home a bagful of grapes for the family to enjoy...a last hurrah for the growing season...those last few grapes still on the vine that won't go into wine - do they have some other use - whether small in scale - vineyard visitors only - or a commercial scale with use in retail or food service markets. Would love to know what's customary.


Historically, though, this is how they announced the "end" of the polio epidemic. Those vaccinated who were exhibiting "polio-like symptoms" were no longer counted as having polio. (Surely we wouldn't be surprised if their positive vaccine status assures that there will be no definitive testing for it…at least not publicly.)


I seriously hope (and can only assume) that the doctors did not rule out actual polio simply on the fact that the children had all been vaccinated against polio. That would be a completely unscientific way to rule out polio. The only way to rule it out is with fecal samples, two of them, taken 24 hours apart, within 14 days of the onset of paralysis. I can only assume that this was done in all of these cases. To not have done so would be medical malpractice in the extreme. (Nevertheless, this needs to be confirmed.)

Bob Moffitt

"They said the virus could not have been polio – also an enterovirus – because all the children had received polio vaccine"

From what we know about the "efficiency" of vaccines to "prevent" a disease from occurring anyway .. the fact these children have received their polio vaccinations is a very thin reed upon which to state unequivocally .. "the virus could not have been polio".

In any event, .. since I am dumb as a post when it comes to biology .. permit me to ask what may be a really stupid question .. to those who are better educated than myself:

As explained in this article .. polio vaccine is made from killed poliovirus .. and .. that makes the possibility that the vaccine itself could have induced paralysis extremely remote.

What about the polio "anti-bodies" that "attenuated or killed" vaccine created? Could the "anti-bodies" themselves be somehow involved as an activating agent?

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