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Beline Obeid

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Polio alive in U.S.

To the Editor:

As a board member of the Michigan Polio Network and the program chairman of the local southeast Michigan Post-Polio support group, I am writing in response to the story, "Eradicate polio one child at a time," printed in the Feb. 27 Grosse Pointe News.

The opening sentence states that "The Grosse Pointe Rotary Clubs are headlong on a campaign to rid the world of the polio virus." This is perpetuating a tragic myth, as the polio virus cannot be eradicated. It is alive and well all over the United States and may be found in places like stagnant water and sewer backups right along with the better known E.coli and hepatitis.

In addition, the virus is being brought into this country every day by international travel. The only reason we are not experiencing outbreaks of polio today is because our population has, up until now, been vigilant about getting vaccinated.

When people read reports that state that polio is eradicated, they believe that means the virus is eradicated, and it is not.

Because of this myth, some parents are opting out of the polio vaccination for their children and this could prove to be a disaster in the future. In addition, the polio virus can now be made in a laboratory from information regarding genetic patterning readily available on the Internet.

Polio is a killing and crippling condition. We have nothing today to compare it to, but talk to senior citizens who remember the polio epidemics and they will tell you how devastating polio was for the entire community.

Those epidemics are not that far behind us. The virus is capable of rearing its ugly head again if we do not remain ever vigilant!

Hurray for Rotary for all the valuable vaccinations they are dispensing throughout the world. They are providing for the needs of many and it is a herculean undertaking.

However, let's set the record straight and be certain the public is getting the facts. And the fact is that the polio virus is not eradicated and we must continue to keep our guard up against this elusive enemy!

Bonnie E. Levitan

Michigan Polio Network Inc.

Bonnie E. Levitan
April 03, 2003

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