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December 1969

Paralytic Poliomyelitis in an Unimmunized Child: Apparent Result of a Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Kan; Atlanta; Kansas City, Kan; Kansas City, Mo
From the Virus Disease Section, Ecological Investigations Program, National Communicable Disease Center (NCDC), Public Health Service, Kansas City, Kan (Drs. Cesario and Caldwell), and the Virology Section, Laboratory Division, NCDC, Atlanta (Dr. Nakano). Dr. Youmans is in private practice in Kansas City, Mo.

Am J Dis Child. 1969;118(6):895-898. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100040897015

DESPITE the widespread benefit derived from live poliovirus vaccines, occasional cases of paralytic disease may occur following administration of attenuated poliovirus.1 Furthermore, paralytic poliomyelitis may rarely occur in intimate contacts of vaccinees.2-8 The following case illustrates the occurrence of poliomyelitis, apparently caused by a vaccine-like virus, in a child who had not recently received poliovirus vaccine nor had any known contact with an individual who had received vaccine.

Report of a Case  On July 5, 1968, a 5-year-old white boy developed fever, frontal headaches, stiff neck, and generalized myalgia. At the same time, his mother noted that he walked with a limp. Over the next two days, his right leg became progressively weaker until he was unable to walk. A physician was then consulted, and the patient was hospitalized. Significantly, this child had not received routine immunizations against poliovirus, but his mother thought he might have received two