An article published in Mathrubhumi weekly by Jeevan Job Thomas has many public health enthusiasts worried. Some have written to me saying that I must write a response. I bought a Mathrubhumi weekly today and went through the article. Since he is known to be a writer of popular books about biology (though with titles like "രതി രഹസ്യം"), I expected scientific treatment of the subject. I am sorry to report that it is nothing of the sort. It is a hastily patched up rehash of material that has been available since ages in various anti-vaccination websites. I strongly suspect that it has been commissioned by Mathrubhumi which recently has become the mascot of the Anti-vaccinationists. Why I choose a facebook page for this is because I have no time to write a full response and whatever I write will be in fits and starts.
I went through the first two pages which contained nothing of consequence except some പൈങ്കിളി treatment of Jonas Salk. I was relieved to see a graph on the third page. There are actually two graphs. One plots the number of wild polio detected cases from 1998 to 2014. And the second? It is according to Jeevan Job Thomas the data regarding 'അക്യൂട്ട് ഫാൽസിഫൈഡ് പരാലിസിസ്'. I scratched my head. Acute falsified paralysis? What the hell is that? Then it clicked. He is talking about Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). Must be a typo, I thought. Then I realized it is not. Throughout the text the same mistake is repeated - umpteen times. Now what is one to make of this? To anyone with any familiarity of polio, AFP means 'flaccid paralysis' a term indicating the nature of the muscle weakness. Anyone who takes the trouble of reading and understanding the subject before shooting off stuff would never make such a ghastly mistake. I realise that Jeevan Job Thomas has merely done a hasty, slipshod work and that such a work doesn't merit serious attention.
Yet, I will post here further observations regarding his article because it will be a reply to whoever Jeevan has borrowed ideas from, even if with half-baked understanding.