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October 19, 1995 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-19

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1 I i lAwis pe

NATRo /WoltLD

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 19, 1995 - 7A

Injection may replace oral polio vaccine

The Whngton Post
WASHINGTON - A panel of ex-
perts recommended yesterday that the
United States begin a slow transition
away from oral polio vaccine and to the
less risky, but less effective, injected
polio vaccine. This new strategy would
eliminate about half of the eight to 10
cases of polio caused by the oral vac-
cine each year in the United States. It
might, however, make parts of the
American population slightly more vul-
nerable to polio, should the infection
ever reappear here.
The last case of "wild" polio in the
Western Hemisphere occurred in Peru,
in August 1991. A small outbreak oc-
curred two years later among members
of an unvaccinated religious sect in
Alberta, Canada, but that- virus was
imported from the Netherlands by other

members ofthe sect, and did not spread
to the general population. The Pan
American Health Organization last year
declared the disease eradicated in the
Americas.
Polio virus usually- causes mild or
symptom-free infection. In some cases,
however, it destroys nerve cells in the
spinal cord, causing permanent weak-
ness or paralysis.
Oral polio vaccine uses live but weak-
ened virus - given in a few drops of
sugar water - to stimulate immunity
against the disease. In roughly one of
every 2.4 million doses administered,
the weakened virus undergoes muta-
tion and "reverts" to its dangerous form,
causing polio. Of the few cases of polio
recorded each year in the United States,
all are caused by the vaccine.
The older form of polio vaccine em-

ploys killed virus, and must be injected,
not drunk. Some experts believe it is
slightly less effective than the oral form.
It also causes less "vaccination by con-
tact"- a phenomenon in which people
in close contact with someone who has
recently gotten the oral immunization
encounter small amounts of the weak-
ened virus and, in effect, get a booster
that enhances their own immunity.
Unlike the oral vaccine, however, the
injected one can't cause the disease.
The debate over which vaccine to use
now that there is little risk of polio
epidemics in the United States has
sparked heated debate among pediatri-
cians and public health physicians.
Proponents of keeping the oral vac-
cine say that polio- still found in parts
of Asia - is "only an airplane flight
away" from the American population.

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AP PHOTO
A French U.N. peacekeeper hands orange juice to residents of Gorazde after the
first convoy since last week's cease fire arrived carrying humanitarian aid.
Bosma, Belgmde take step
toward peaCe open offiCes

House opens
hea on
g e
U.S. language
WASHINGTON (AP)- House Re-
publicans opened hearings yesterday
on legislation to make English the
nation's official language amid charges
from opponents that some of the mea-
sures would harm children who speak
another language.
Education Secretary Richard Riley
told a House education subcommittee it
would be "sheer folly" to eliminate
bilingual programs for children who
don't speak English, as a version spon-
sored by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
would do.
"Passing these bills is saying to chil-
dren, and those who are struggling to
learn English, that we don't care if they
fall behind and fail," Riley said in a
statement.
Supporters of the bill with the most
co-sponsors, introduced by Rep. Bill
Emerson and Sen. Richard Shelby, say
that measure would only affect the lan-
guage of government and would do
nothing to federal bilingual education
programs.
Emerson (R-Mo.)saidtheirbill would
exempt essential services - such as
those dealing with emergencies, health
and the justice system - from the offi-
cial English mandate on the federal
government. But it would ensure that
most government forms and documents
would be printed only in English.
A recent General Accounting Office
report found that only a tiny fraction of
the federal government's documents
were in other languages, but Emerson
nevertheless said it was wasteful to print
items in, for example, Cambodian, Ro-
manian, Portuguese and Ukrainian.
"If we do not address this issue in a
rational, forward-thinking manner, then
we will be guilty of having allowed a
new type of welfare to be institutional-
ized: linguistic welfare," Emersonfsaid.
Shelby (R-Ala.) said the bill would
have no impact on a person's right to
speak any language at home, at work or
elsewhere. But he said government
should lead by example in encouraging
people to learn English.
"The bottom line is that English is the
language of opportunity," Shelby said.
Rep. Ed Pastor, an Arizona Demo-
crat who chairs the Congressional His-
panic Caucus, said generations of im-
migrants have understood that learning
English is vital to succeed. Pastor noted
that more than 95 percent of Americans
speak English, and said the issue ap-
peared driven by political concerns.
"I cannot help but feel that we are not
looking at a real issue here but perhaps
one that has been artificially created to
divide our country and promote a short-
term political gain," Pastor said.
The subcommittee's chairman, Rep.
Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.) said
there would probably be more hearings
before the panel begins seriously con-
sidering any of the three bills and one
proposed constitutional amendment
currently before it.

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Te Daily
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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina
(AP) - Pushed by American diplo-
mats, Bosnia and rival Yugoslavia
inched toward peace yesterday with
an agreement to open offices in each
other's capitals.
Liaison offices would represent the
highest level offormal contact between
the two countries since Bosnia broke
from the Serb-dominated Yugoslav
federation 3 1/2 years ago, triggering a
rebellion by Bosnian Serbs.
U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke an-
nounced the deal in what he said was
his last swing through the area before
crucial peace talks among Serbian,
Croatian and Bosnian leaders begin
Oct. 31 in the United States.
Holbrooke said yesterday's accord
did not mean mutual diplomatic rec-
ognition between Bosnia and Yugo-
slavia, which now consists only of
Serbia and tiny Montenegro.
"This is a small step on a long and
difficult road," he said after meeting
Bosnian government leaders in
Sarajevo.
No date was given for when the
offices would open.
U.N. officials said aweek-oldtruce
negotiated by Holbrooke appeared to
be holding, although sporadic fight-
ing persisted in northwest Bosnia.
Each side blamed the other.
Holbrooke arrived in Sarajevo from

Belgrade, the Serbian and Yugoslav
capital, after talks with Serbian Presi-
dent Slobodan Milosevic.
He said part of his mission was aimed
at "getting the cease-fire fully imple-
mented and respected."
"It's in place, but there are a lot of
violations in all directions," Mllsevic said.
He headed for Croatia for talks with
President Franjo Tudjman to make sure
the Croatian army does not upset the
peace process by marching into eastern
Slavonia, the last bit of Serb-held terri-
tory in Croatia.
Serbs there revolted in 1991 after
Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia, but
the Croatian army last August retook
most of the land they had seized.
Flush with that success, Croatian
troops have threatened to retake eastern
Slavonia as well, and have been in-
volved in fighting in Bosnia, in alliance
with the Sarajevo government.
A stable truce is crucial to the upcom-
ing talks, where the warring sides must
finalize a division of Bosnia between the
Bosnian Serbs and a Muslim-Croat alli-
ance, and work out how they will share
power in a future government.
Ifthey succeed, an international peace
conference would follow in Paris. A
final settlement would be policed by a
NATO force, possibly including 20,000
U.S. troops, as well as troops from non-
NATO countries such as Russia.

.1

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