Spring has sprung, at least theoretically, in daffodil-deprived Washington. Warmer weather will soon favor a resurgence of enterovirus 68, the virus that first appeared in severe and paralytic forms in 2013 as a small cluster in California, popped up unpredictably around the country last year in larger numbers and now – well, now what?
Just this week, the CDC put out a plain English Q&A about the virus. The CDC notes that last year, 1,153 people in 49 states were confirmed to have the virus, and 14 of them died. Most were children. Weirdly, the CDC doesn't mention the frightening and seemingly permanent cases of paralysis almost certainly associated with EV-D68, and regarding the deaths, it mumbles: "State and local officials have the authority to determine and release information about the cause of these deaths."
It would be nice to see the CDC a little more animated on this one, because given the obvious parallels with poliovirus, I think we could be on the brink of big trouble. Both polio and EV-D68 are enteroviruses, meaning they get into the body through the GI tract, although they can manifest as respiratory illness; both appear in warmer weather; both can cause paralysis and death. A big part of the problem is mainstream medical types may once again be blind to what they are really dealing with.
Polio epidemics, as Mark Blaxill and I have proposed, were triggered not just by the virus but also by a necessary co-factor -- exposure to certain pesticides in people, most often non-immune children, who happened to have an active poliovirus infection at the time. The pesticides – lead arsenate starting in the early 1890s, DDT after World War II – opened a pathway to the nervous system that let the otherwise benign virus attack cells that control motion.
The idea that pesticides are implicated in polio has been around for a long time – since the first outbreaks over a century ago, in fact – but roundly sneered at by mainstream scientists, if they noticed at all while hunkered over microscopes in their virology labs. The pesticides-alone theory was easy to dismiss because it was incomplete. The virus, we argued, was a necessary cofactor with the toxin, and when the vaccine came along and took down the virus, the epidemics ended. But the truth -- the ability of toxins to potentiate microbes -- did not.
As the CDC points out, EV-D68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses from which the vaccine provides no protection. And since lead arsenate and DDT are no longer used in the United States, we can only guess what toxin, still presumably a pesticide and who knows what else, is potentiating EV-D68. We suspect the collapse of bee colonies and the rise of neurological illnesses point to successor chemicals that are even more toxic in ever-smaller doses.
It would be useful to find out, and quickly. Unfortunately, the idea of a toxic cofactor in the spread of EV-D68 is not on the radar of any current research, as far as I can tell. That’s despite clues in the early EV-D68 cases – the parents of one child run vineyards and a winery in northern California, and the mother told us her daughter had fresh raspberries the morning she got sick (the doctors seemed uninterested); another child is from Moorpark, a Los Angeles exurb built on former (often toxic) farmland that has an apricot named after it.
By now, 1000-plus ED-68 cases on, the clues to the origin have been buried in the breadth of the outbreak, just as they were with polio (and autism); early polio clusters occurred in the San Joaquin and Napa valleys in California (fruit, vegetables, grapes), and in locations where lead arsenate was pioneered – most astonishingly, in 1893 in Boston, which is when and where lead arsenate was invented to battle the coddling moth that was attacking apple orchards. Its use soon spread, and so did epidemics.
Similarly, there’s a very good case to be made that autism can be caused by live virus vaccinations like the MMR, especially in children who also have gotten mercury-containing vaccinations at the same time or earlier. This idea, of course, has been “debunked” by the federal government, even as it continues to covertly award millions to families of children who get those vaccines, develop brain swelling, and end up with autism. Metals – mercury, lead, and arsenic are all metals – can cause mayhem, on their own or in conjunction with viruses.
So under our theory of the case, unfortunately, EV-D68 is not going away. Back last October I wrote this:
“Right now the media is fixated on the first case of Ebola to reach U.S. shores … Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, says the disease will be stopped in its tracks, and for once I believe him. This is what the CDC does well -- track an outbreak in real time, find contacts, quarantine if necessary, and put an end to it.
“Enterovirus 68, I'm afraid, may be another story. This prospect is outside the CDC's wheelhouse because it does not follow the straight lines of germ theory - one microbe, one disease. It's another paradigm altogether -- a possible microbe-toxin interaction, the kind we've written about many times. And it comes uncomfortably close to interactions (MMR and thimerosal, another microbe and metal combination) they have already rejected as impossible.
“I'm afraid they feel much more at home waging war on Ebola.
“Which story is bigger? I vote for the enterovirus.”
If EV-D68 follows the polio trajectory, it will be back in bigger numbers, following a jagged course of dips and spikes that no on can make sense of until, one day, it explodes.
That’s what happened with polio. From those scattered agricultural outbreaks in the 1890s including Boston and the San Joaquin Valley, there was a sudden spike to 2,500 in New York City alone in 1907, and then 27,000 cases and 6,000 deaths in the Northeast epidemic just nine in 1916. From there, polio was off and running for half a century. One could argue there was a magnitude increase every decade.
In a way, EV-D68 is on a faster track, going from a couple of dozen cases in California to 1,000 nationwide in one year – a two-magnitude increase. One thing that especially concerns me: It was often noted that the worst polio outbreaks were connected with droughts; our hunch is that’s because less pesticide got washed off the produce by rainfall. And as we all know, California is suffering through a historic and seemingly unending drought.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.