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Weekly Wrap: Raspberries, Pesticides and the New Polio

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Rasperberries on fingers

The alarm bells are ringing louder over the increasing number of cases of sudden paralysis among children in the United States. But the predictable focus on germs by “disease hunters” is obscuring what surely must be a strong environmental component.

Last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times’ piece put the issue on the mainstream media map,and another cluster of nine in Washington State this week – focusing on a six-year-old boy from Whatcom County – made the national news. (That child died.)

Here at AOA, which focuses on autism and other environmental, man-made threats to children’s health, we first called out this issue as urgent in early 2014 because it lined up eerily with work Mark Blaxill and I had done about the original paralysis-inducing epidemics of poliomyelitis. In 2011, we first proposed a new theory for those outbreaks – suggesting the poliovirus combined with novel manmade toxins, most notably the pesticide lead arsenate, to kick off the Age of Polio. The ideas is simple: Toxin plus microbe = polio outbreaks. Without the toxin, polio is a minor, often unnoticed infection. With it, the virus can gain access to the nervous system and cause polio's dreaded effects.

So when this new outbreak of polio-like paralysis among children arose in California, we looked into it. We interviewed the mother of a child, Sofia Jarvis, who developed a paralyzed arm, and we came up with a possible pesticide connection. Here’s a screen grab from a story Mark and I wrote in April 2014.

DO screen grab polio rasperries


Now it pays to be humble in the face of a new illness. There was a lot going on in this cluster of early cases, which spread from California and Colorado to Illinois and across the country before seeming to fade out last year (it’s back now on a scary cycle that also recalls the periodicity of polio). Some of those patients two years ago tested positive for EV-68, a virus in the same enterovirus family as polio, but others didn’t, and a conclusive link between the infection and the neurological damage couldn't be made in any case.

Sofia had been hospitalized and gotten an IV antibiotic in the same arm that became paralyzed, which is similar to the “provocation polio” caused by needle sticks that allowed the virus to travel, through a process called “reversal axonal transport,” to the anterior horn cells at the top of the spinal column that control movement. (It was upon hearing about this phenomenon while we worked on our 2010 book “The Age of Autism” that Mark and I looked deeper at polio. It seemed to mimic a process we were investigating involving the combination of syphilis and mercury treatment triggering the worst form of that disease, general paralysis of the insane. Note paralysis.)

We were the first to report last month that the CDC was informing state health departments of a new wave of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) cases starting this summer, and we again put forward our idea that the environment, probably in the form of pesticides but whatever the case something besides a microbe, was involved. (Some of our readers will suspect vaccines, which is also certainly plausible.) AFM is basically medical code for WTF?, since it does not describe an infection but a condition. It's like calling poliomyelitis infantile paralysis, the term it went by before anyone figure out what was going on.

It's the same old story: The mainstream – in medicine, in big media, in the government – seems resistant to the point of oblivion to the idea that the environment, especially manmade chemicals and medical interventions, especially ones they create and promote, could have anything to do with human health. It is after all the Centers for Disease Control that takes the lead and tracks the numbers in these things, and we know from close experience – autism – that they can’t (or won’t) get their mind around the idea of environmentally induced epidemics, especially not when they get money from epidemic-deniers and make their living studying the creepy-crawly end of the disease-causing spectrum. The idea that some dumb manmade chemical like a pesticide (or thimerosal) could tip the body's exquisite but delicate balance  into a new epidemic of illness just does not compute. They seem to forget that something is new here; new means novel, and novel implies either some mutating or new virus, or a toxin that wasn't there before in the way it is now.

So when EV-68 starts to look dubious as “the cause,” they widen their aperture just enough to fit in every other germ known to mankind (but not manmade chemicals like lead arsenate or DDT or the new generation that appears to be killing bees wholesale, and maybe bats, and maybe now children). That reliable CDC downspout The Huffington Post (which after years of being friendly to the vaccine-autism concept got bought up and out by AOL and now Verizon and promptly shut up) reported this week under the headline “A Mysterious Neurological Condition Is Paralyzing Children”:

“One alarming complication is that AFM appears to be triggered by common viruses.” Oh, so now it’s viruses, plural.  “Experts aren’t sure what causes AFM, as scientists haven’t been able to consistently isolate a germ in a patient’s spinal fluid that could explain what triggered the condition.”

A germ – it must be a germ. That is the box outside of which we will not get as long as those inside the germ paradigm are running the show. And since they can’t find a germ it must be any number of germs, none of which, as far as I know, has been implicated in any way but hey, let’s toss ‘em out there: “They have found that it appears to be triggered by a variety of diseases, including viral infections like West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, the virus that causes polio and those that can cause the common cold, pneumonia, bladder infection or gastroenteritis.” 

Well there’s a greasy nothingburger of causation gibberish if I’ve ever tasted one. First of all why weren't these things triggering mayhem five years ago? We have a truly scary and rising epidemic of childhood paralysis under way and the CDC has no idea what’s happening.  Hey, it could be EV-68, or any other viral infection like West Nile, or Japanese encephalitis, or polio, or the common cold, or a bladder infection, or a stomach bug. Anything the CDC is in charge of figuring it out, and nothing it’s not.

The HuffPo story is written by someone passingly familiar with medical issues, someone obviously not suited to push this story forward rather than stenographically repeat the CDC, containing half-somnambulant statements like this:

“It’s important to note that despite the spike in case reports, the condition is still exceedingly rare; less than one in one million people in America will experience it.” And how in the heck do they know that less than one million people are going to experience this thing? The rate right now might be one in one million, but it is increasing, you dodoheads! That’s what dangerous diseases can do! And it is paralyzing kids. Quit worrying about the flu and start worrying about some new polio-like thing that is leaving children paralyzed for life from the nose down, and killing others outright.

There's always a chipper quality to these things. The LA Times made it into a mother's quest for answers, which is wonderful but needs a lot of help and not just cheerleading; HuffPo offered this: "Complicating matters is that doctors aren’t sure how to treat a child once acute flaccid myelitis is present." How do you sit at your laptop and write soulless dreck like that? The reality that a paralytic and sometimes fatal disease cannot be treated at all  is not a complication, people! It's a nightmare.

I’m sticking with the pesticide idea, in part because it certainly hasn’t been looked at but most of all because of of our work on polio and our reporting on raspberries. Raspberries? In the recent Washington State outbreak, two children were from Whatcom County. Look it up – the place is an agricultural heartland stretching clear accord the northern tier of that state. According to Bellingham.org:

“With 140 miles of marine shoreline and 100,000 acres of highly productive farmland, Bellingham and Whatcom County, Washington are a fresh food haven stretching deliciously between the Salish Sea and snow-capped Mount Baker, near the U.S. – Canada border.

“Farm production in Whatcom County ranks in the top three percent of all counties in the United States. Whatcom County is also the nation’s largest producer of red raspberries, growing 60 percent of the U.S. crop, first in the nation for milk production per cow, and first out of 39 Washington state counties in overall dairy production.”

Being the “nation’s largest producer of red raspberries” gives me a hill because it reminds me of the story we ran more than two years ago now – see the raspberry photo above. Little Sofia ate raspberries the morning she started getting sick. Her mother told the doctors about it. But since Sofia didn’t have botulism, they discounted any connection. End of story, until this new one: The outbreak is at least partly in raspberry country, and the child who died lived a dozen miles or so from Lynden, Washington, home of the Northwest Raspberry Festival every July.

 It’s not that raspberries cause paralysis or that these two facts prove causation. But it makes me want to keep looking. That small round buckyball sphere is just perfect for conveying more than its share of toxic agricultural chemical per mouthful.  If you were to pick an advance warning system that our food might be awash in manmade impurities creating a terrifying new disease, a humble little raspberry might be an ideal contrivance. It has more surface area than Norway has shoreline and it is damnably hard to keep sterile. We wrote in 2014:

“Pesticide residue seems to us like a prime suspect. ‘Fruit is notoriously difficult to grow organically and without pesticides,' Jeff Moyer, farm director at the Rodale Institute, an organic research institution, is quoted as saying on the institute’s Web site. According to the institute, ‘Because most fruits have soft skins, the pesticides that are used to kill those bugs (and the molds and fungi that also love fruit) get into the flesh and into your mouth, and no amount of peeling or washing can remove them.’”

And you can’t peel a raspberry.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Jeannette Bishop

Potential pattern or cycle here?

Jeannette Bishop



Rage, rage against the dying of the light, but other diseases will replace the common harmless polio virus from passing through the body barriers to the anterior horn and causing paralysis and brain injuries.

Do you know , How many microbes exist in the world?
Let us make a vaccine for every one of them .

Then the real Baby Jesus will have to come to save us humans or there will not be one human being left - not one left ; as stated in the last book of the Bible.

Jeannette Bishop

Maybe I'm not interpreting the reports out of Seattle correctly, but it seems that one requirement for an AFM diagnosis is that bereaved family members (and maybe the family pediatrician, too) do not strongly or at least vocally suspect a role of vaccination. If the boy's symptoms apparently qualified him for this diagnosis at first, what changed?

It's not clear as reported what the doctors mean with their denial that vaccinations have anything to with AFM (even though as far as I understand a vaccine can cause/trigger the same kinds of symptoms). Are they acknowledging a in an unclear way a vaccine induced death (seems unlikely, but I think a reader might make that conclusion the way the report is written) or was there some other medical intervention/diagnosis/error that is not being discussed?

Birgit Calhoun

Dan! Is there a reason why my comment was removed from the comment section? I saw it yesterday. The emails I used to contact you in the past do not work any longer. Did I do something to annoy you?



Jesus Baby

"... the virus itself is not the issue, it is what makes the virus virulent..."

Translation: We can't discredit the polio eradication program, so let's just make stuff up.

david m burd

Teresa Conrick, Thanks for your post.

The Seattle Times article you cited with its quote from the stricken (now dead) boy's grandmother stating the recent array of his school vaccines and the flu shot being a likely cause of his death rings true. This is exactly what I posted here about three weeks ago about the timing of mandated (fear-mongered) August & September school vaccines plus flu shots relating to the "mysterious" occurrence of a number of school children being stricken with various very serious flaccidities. These vaccine shots are indeed temporal association and THE prime suspects.


What is also interesting to me is in these various references of novel or new - the microbes are in the same "family" of germs. There was polio, and as you believe the vaccine wiped it out, but now there is EV 68, which didn't you say at one point is in the same family of germ as polio? Maybe the vaccine temporarily made it look gone, or maybe the vaccine forced evolution on the germ family and EV 68 took the top slot. There was the pneumonia, then the pneumonia vaccine, then came more virulent pneumonia and now prevnar is up to what, 13 strains it's supposed to fight? Forced evolution of pneumonia family of microbes? How about . . . chicken pox? There was chicken pox, then there was the vaccine, and then shingles reared its ugly head. Forced evolution of herpes family of microbes? (lets not forget HPV in that family, too, right?) How many more hepatitis vaccines need to keep being invented - will we push it all the way to hepatitis Z with each new vaccine? And maybe it's happening with Ziki, which turns out is in the same family as dengue: is it a coincidence that (Jan?) 2016 was the month that a dengue vaccine phase III trial in Brazil began, you know, the one country in south america in which the zika "epidemic" babies are being born in any significant numbers. Where were the phase II trials?

"Implication of vaccination against dengue for Zika outbreak"

"Dengue vaccine enters phase 3 trial in Brazil"

Seems like viruses and bacteria circulating in a body riddled with continuous various forms of anti-microbial things like mercury or glyphosate or coull eventually form antimicrobial resistance within the individual body. Combined with a sufficient lack of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, why wouldn't the body eventually succumb to these stressed-then-evolved superbugs - leading to things like leaky gut, leaky cells, leaky nervous system, paralysis, inflammation, encephalitis, ziki, death, etc. There is an old idea out there about colds/flu and vitamin C that we all have the cold viruses in us, and that we get sick when the vitamin C levels drop too low, allowing the virus to cause symptoms. What happens if that's true but with super bugs.

Raspberries have more variety of pesticides sprayed on them than strawberries even - 39 I think. And they do get viruses. https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT10309592&content=PDF I get so annoyed with the PEW Charitable Trust and their campaign against antibiotic use in cows for example. Yes, we need to rectify that, but what about antibiotic use on the plants that we put directly in our mouths, often times raw? I thank God that we started our child organic in babyhood. Things could have been so much worse, I believe, if we hadn't. I shake my head looking back that I knew well enough to do organic food and looked forward to doing that once the baby was born, but let them shoot the same type of shit I was avoiding putting in the mouth right into my body when pregnant (some kind of tetanus shot) and my baby's body, too, with every vaccine.

 Teresa Conrick

WOW. I was so saddened to hear that young boy , Daniel Porter, had died but a loyal reader just sent this news article from the Seattle Times that should stir the pot on what is happening with these children diagnosed. Thank you Dan, for keeping up with this increasing, tragic story:


"The boy’s grandmother, Mitzie De Guzman, said Daniel’s family suspects he may have had a reaction to multiple vaccines required for school admission, plus a flu shot, given Sept. 28, "............

Louis Conte

"How do you sit at your laptop and write soulless dreck like that?"

Thank you for saying this.

It is all that we get from the main stream media these days.


david m burd

Dan, you mentioned "West Nile" (virus) along with other viruses/germs when combined with exposure to man-made pesticides may indeed synergistically cause paralysis.

At any rate I've closely followed West Nile since its inception in NY over 12 years ago. There are two facts worth mentioning: 1) The CDC has for over 10 years combined all mosquito-born encephalitis cases (St. Louis encephalitis, etc.) and presented them as "West Nile".

The average annual number of deaths blamed on "West Nile" fluctuates greatly, from 35 to 300 a year across the U.S. with many States such as Virginia usually having zero or one. BUT, the key statistic is the average age of death being over 80 years old; perhaps 5 deaths (over all these years) of adults under 55; and virtually ZERO deaths of children or young adults (who are most likely to be exposed to mosquitoes).

My point: The CDC just makes it up as they go along, in order to instill fear and make it easier to control the masses, as in accepting the gigantic toxic spraying for mosquitoes as in Zika, West Nile, on and on. Of course the consequences of massive spraying of these insecticides will be sure to CAUSE numbers of human victims - but blamed on a "virus."

dan olmsted

re the jesus baby point -- the virus itself is not the issue, it is what makes the virus virulent, and so the fact that a vaccine wiped out the virus, which i believe it did, is neither here nor there. i hope readers will find the issue interesting and that perhaps public health authorities might pay attention while the current outbreaks are still relatively small -- although i am much more hopeful about the former than the latter....but as always i appreciate the input and will attempt to respond. -- dan

For Jesus baby

Jesus baby

Talk about thick. The point here is that irrespective of the wretched polio virus you have still got the problem. Also you present the absolute good as being the eradication of the virus as if there are no other considerations (there may may be many). But all you are really doing is sticking your fingers in your ears and going "lalala!"

Jesus baby

Rage, rage against the dying of the light, but polio will be eradicated in just a few more years because of vaccines.

Bob Moffit

'A germ – it must be a germ .... and since they can’t find a germ .... it must be any number of germs.."

Up next .. it must be a "gene" ... and since they won't find a single gene ... it will be "any number of genes"


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