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N Engl J Med. 1977 Aug 4;297(5):241-5.

Chronic progressive poliomyelitis secondary to vaccination of an immunodeficient child.


We investigated an immunodeficient child in whom chronic progressive poliomyelitis developed after she had received live oral poliovirus vaccine. Poliovirus, Type II, was isolated from throat and stool during life and from several sites within the brain at autopsy. The brain isolate was classified as vaccine-like on the basis of temperature sensitivity and antigenic markers. However, in the monkey neurovirulence test, the brain isolate produced moderately severe lesions throughout the spinal cord and brainstem and appeared nonvaccine-like. Thus, the brain isolate demonstrated a dissociation between the antigenic and neurovirulence markers. Our observations suggest that, under unusual circumstances, such as immunodeficiency, attenuated poliovirus can produce a chronic progressive neurologic disease. This case also emphasizes the need to diagnose immunodeficiency as early as possible, so that live-virus vaccines will not be administered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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