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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  June 4, 2017 10:00am-10:30am EDT

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sharyl: carter roberts was just three when he was hit by sudden paralysis that looked just like polio. christopher roberts: carter probably developed the flu-like symptoms on a saturday morning and then, within 24 hours, he was unable to move. sharyl: doctors theorized it could be a rare polio-like virus that had also suddenly emerged at the same time. enterovirus, or evd68. what's the difference between what we're seeing with these children and polio? dr benjamin greenberg: not much, which is interesting. scott: from a hilltop outside of town, henin-beaumont looks like your average blue-collar village. but this french faction of the country's rust belt has faced more that it's fair share of struggles. after years of struggle, the town is now rebounding.
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upon a controversial new notion, this has been dubbed "a town without immigrants." should people be allowed to wear burkas, to wear yarmulkes in public? christopher szczurek: i don't think, because we should only see what togethers us, not what divides us. president trump: it's been a long time since a bill like this has been signed, reaffirming our national commitment to the core mission of nasa. lisa: president trump has his sights on mars. where are we today when it comes to space exploration? john grant: i think we're actually at a threshold. we're really on, i think, the threshold of understanding whether or not there's life anywhere in our solar system, besides here on the earth. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪
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sharyl: welcome to "full measure." i'm sharyl attkisson. a year and a half ago, we first reported on a baffling, new illness responsible for nightmarish scenarios. a child wakes up and his legs don't move. soon, he's paralyzed from the neck down. since then, the number of cases has grown. yet the centers for disease control says it still has no clue what's causing it and won't say much else. one thing we know -- the disease mimics one of the world's most feared illnesses -- polio. today, we continue our investigation into the mysterious outbreak that's left hundreds of american children suddenly frozen. christopher roberts: carter probably developed the flu-like symptoms on a saturday morning and then within 24 hours of that, by then sunday morning, we found him on the floor and no mobility in his right side. he was unable to move and he was faintly asking for help.
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sharyl: carter roberts was just three when he was hit by sudden paralysis that looked just like polio. we first caught up with his father chris last year at kennedy krieger institute in baltimore, maryland, where carter was hospitalized for months. christopher: last night, he cried for about twenty-five minutes just uncontrollably. he's in, i think, regular and constant pain. although he is immobile, he can definitely feel everything all over his body. sharyl: as more cases piled up in fall of 2014, cdc gave the mysterious paralysis a new name -- acute flaccid myelitis or afm, inflammation of the spinal cord. mandy baker was an honor student about to start her sophomore year of high school and went from feeling fine to being paralyzed in a single day. her illness ran up a $3 million hospital bill for treatments not covered by insurance. but what was causing the sudden paralysis?
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doctors theorized it could be a rare polio-like virus that had also suddenly emerged at the same time, enterovirus, or ev-d68. unusually high numbers of kids were showing up at ers with severe breathing problems from ev-d68. 4-year-old eli waller of hamilton, new jersey, died after coming down with ev-d68. so did madeline reid, a toddler in detroit, and ten-year-old emily otrando of rhode island. was the same virus that sickened and killed some children, paralyzing others? in five months, there were more than a thousand severe cases of ev-d68, at least 14 deaths, and 120 known cases of afm paralysis, mostly young children. the cdc, normally quick to raise alarms and speak on tv when there's any threat of infectious disease, wasn't saying much at all this time. they declined our repeated interview requests and instead pointed me this video they
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brian rha: infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become ill. sharyl: the video offered little insight. you will i requested more information under the freedom of information act. it took cdc more than a year and a half to begin turning over documents. internal emails show cdc trying to figure out what was triggering paralysis in some of the kids who had the ev-d68 virus. was it exposure to west nile virus, insecticides, international travel, or vaccines, particularly oral polio vaccine? officials say they still can't pinpoint the origin. one physician, who treated dozens of the paralyzed children, seemed to be looking at the bigger picture -- dr. benjamin greenberg. in emails, dr. greenberg wondered if we were seeing the 21st century version of polio. if it is in the early stages of evolution, he urged cdc, we can get ahead of it. i recently tracked down dr
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in dallas and ut southwestern medical center. what's the difference between what we're seeing with these children and polio? dr. greenberg: not much, which is interesting. sharyl: greenberg filled in a lot of blanks on the mysterious afflictions, where cdc would not. is it accurate to say this is less contagious than polio? dr. greenberg: we don't know yet. part of what we're lacking is the ability to go through a population and determine who has been exposed to this virus and who hasn't. we looked at the papers written 100 years ago, describing cases of poliomyelitis in the u.s., and we talked to colleagues from around the world who are actually part of teams who treat polio cases. and to all of our surprises, basically what we were seeing was a polio-like illness, but not from the polio virus. sharyl: millions of people had been infected with this ev-d68, but a relatively few actually come down with the paralysis. do we have any idea why those certain children get paralyzed? dr. greenberg: we don't know that yet, but it's worth noting that t
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same virus can infect thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people with only a few individuals having catastrophic events from the virus, is true for almost every virus in human biology. sharyl: at its worst, polio killed 3000 and paralyzed 21,000 americans in a single year back in 1952. in 2014, there were 120 known cases of afm paralysis in the u.s. in 2015, there were just 21. but last year, the number surged to 138. there have been five confirmed cases so far this year. did polio have a pathology that was anything similar to what you're seeing now? dr. greenberg: so, if we look at the history of polio, at least in the united states, it started with small outbreaks and then would disappear for years and then reemerge. sharyl: the question is whether afm paralysis is following a similar pattern of surfacing, receding, and surfacing again in a bigger way.
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clearly, it's not a one-time event? dr. greenberg: clearly, as we saw in this last year, we see, we had a spike in cases again and so we know that this virus has the capability, if it is the cause, to come back and to cause damage. sharyl: with cdc saying so little publicly, families struck by the horrible illness, like mckenzie andersen of albany, oregon, have found each other on facebook. mckenzie went from having a cold to being paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator in 12 days. cdc is firmly refusing to disclose how many cases are in which states, even though that information is public in nature. cdc told me it has not received any reports of death from afm paralysis. but with the health agency so tight-lipped about these cases, some families wonder if the numbers are underreported. the family of 14-yea-old isaac prestridge of louisiana says cdc originally said afm caused their son's death. he got sick la
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complaining of a weird feeling in his knees, and died two days later. but when isaac's case didn't show up in cdc reports on afm deaths, the family asked why. they say the cdc then told them it had reopened isaac's case and eventually attributed his death to a different form of paralysis. carter's family says cdc won't count his case either, in their published statistics, despite carter's doctors describing it as characteristically afm. some of these kids die? dr. greenberg: they do. it is a very rare event to have death related to acute flaccid myelitis. unfortunately, it has happened. sharyl: although the one-two punch of ev-d68 and afm paralysis has been more damaging over the past three and a half years than much more publicized diseases, it's still in the shadows. more kids have been hurt seriously with this than measles, ebola, and zika combined, but you don't hear anything about it?
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priorities around ebola, measles, and zika that are very valid. will enterovirus d68 is a common virus with a low rate of causing significant paralysis or conditions that lead to disability. and so the decisions have been made that, while it is a problem, while it is a concern, it may not garner the level of need that some other public health issues do. sharyl: do you agree with that? dr. greenberg: i wish we had the resources to do it all. sharyl: greenberg says there's reason to hope that afm isn't the beginning of another polio like epidemic. so far, he says, the rate of paralysis after infection seems lower than it was with polio. dr. greenberg: the number one question we get asked is about rehabilitation and recovery. will children get better after the event? sharyl: and what's the answer? dr. greenberg: they do. it's very slow, and it takes a lot of work. when we stay aggressive and we push and we stay with a routine, we're seeing slowly but surely improvements occur. sharyl: today, carter is out of the hospital and back atom
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there's been no improvement in his condition, but he's considered stable. christopher: from what i've seen, what i've read, and heard there have only been two children who have recovered fully. it's very hard from day to day. we are day to day, almost hour to hour. sharyl: believe it or not, afm paralysis isn't a "reportable disease," like west nile virus or measles, meaning doctors aren't required to report cases. dr. greenberg thinks that should change. in fact, he advocates a broadened surveillance system to track all kinds of sudden paralysis to better find answers as to what's causing them. ahead on "full measure." scott thuman takes us to a small town in france. it's a town without immigrants.
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sharyl: immigration was a pivotal issue driving the u.s. presidential race. now it is time to go from promises to policy. do we build the wall? expel all illegal immigrants? those same issues were part of the recent french presidential election. when scott thuman was there covering the big race, he found a small town taking policy into its own hands. scott: from a hilltop just outside of town, henin-beaumont looks like your average blue-collar village. but this french faction of the country's rust belt has faced more than its fair share of struggles. people's optimism had been replaced with piles of slag from closed-up coal mines. >> people are jaded from all these promises that haven't been fulfilled.
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catastrophic deficit here, we were paying exorbitant taxes. scott: the language is different, the scene and complaints, the same as you'd find in coal country in pennsylvania. bill allen: my father was in the coal mine and that's the way i supported my family. scott: or cattle country in texas. pam dismukes: i want to get the trade between the countries fixed. scott: in all, economies tanked, jobs dried up, and so did people's hope. christopher szczurek is the deputy mayor of henin-beaumont. christopher szczurek: as you tell, it's quite poor, a huge unemployment rate. scott: how big is the unemployment rate here? christopher szczurek: 20%. sharylscott: 20%? after years of struggle, the town is now rebounding, sprucing up, rebuilding. the success, some say, rests upon a controversial new notion. this has beedu
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without immigrants." should people be allowed to wear burkas, should people be allowed to wear yarmulkes in public? christopher szczurek: i don't think, because we have a strong belief in our secularism. in public life, we should only see what gathers us, not what divides us. scott: last year, the town rallied support to form "the town without immigrants association." a stand against taking in any refugees from europe's overwhelming migrant crisis as the country's massive "jungle" refugee camp once sat just an hour away. the winds of change arrived, via a political push, that mirrors to some degree what's happened in middle-american towns across the united states, where people chose populism and protectionism in hopes of reviving the economy. >> it's gotta start somewhere. the taxpayers, the blue collar
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continue to support two thirds of the world. scott: calls for figurative walls in henin-beaumont have come from the national front party which now dominates the region. christopher szczurek: it was a time when france got a lot of work to give. that's not the case anymore. we denounce immigration now, but we don't denounce the people. we denounce the politics. scott: and not just about jobs. france has fundamentally changed since the attacks, their friday, november 13th. daniel vaissier is a retired craftsman. daniel vaissier: those who don't want to integrate we keep out. and that's it. look at what happened in paris, a friday evening and people were just sitting with friends on the patio or at the bataclan theatre and they were shot. no, that's not acceptable. something must be done. scott: the reality of terrorism created a fertile ground for divisive politics.
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and human rights activist marine tondelier says anyone opposing the immigrant-free platform found life here untenable. everyone knows that immigrants are not welcome here? marine tondelier: yes, if you want to come to france and you're an immigrant, you don't go to a national front city. scott: an irony considering the town's origin. marine tondelier: it has no sense here to say this because people, we were calling people from abroad to make the coal mines work. scott: so in a town built on immigrants. marine tondelier: yes. and by immigrants. scott: and by immigrants in the coal mines here. you're saying it's difficult then to suddenly say, "we don't need them, we don't want them." they are not welcome. marine tondelier: yes. scott: while the national front lost the national election, they're hardly giving up. and just as henin-beaumont survived roman and norman invasions over the centuries, change happens. christopher szczurek: maybe in
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10 years, we won't be still seen as devil, you know? scott: seen as the devil? christopher szczurek: that's it. sharyl: the theory is without immigrants competing her jobs, it is better for the locals in the economy? scott: on one hand when you have a 20% unemployment rate, there would be fewer people competing for a handful of jobs. on the other hand, we saw a lot of shuttered storefronts. if the immigrants were welcome, they would be consumers, perhaps they would keep some of those businesses afloat. sharyl: fascinating. thank you so much, scott. coming up on "full measure." it was once an american initiative. now it's a mandate. to put man on mars.
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sharyl: space, the final frontier, might also prove to be at least one unifier in congress. both republicans and democrats passed a budget pledging $19.6 billion to nasa. part of that budget comes with a directive from president trump to put americans back in space. lisa fletcher has more
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lisa: how likely is it that we're gonna get to mars? john grant: we're going to get to mars. i think it's really a matter of having the right tools to carry humans and the desire to back that up. lisa: john grant is one of the foremost experts on mars. a geologist by training, grant is one of the operators of the two rovers currently on the red planet -- "opportunity," which landed in 2004, and "curiosity," there since 2012. where are we today when it comes to space exploration? john grant: we're really on, i think, the threshold of understanding whether or not there's life anywhere in our solar system besides here on the earth. lisa: it's that desire to, yes, -- that fueled the space aspirations of the nation in 1961, when president john f. kennedy told america it would lead in the world by leading in space. pres. kennedy: i believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of
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man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. lisa: more than half a century later, president trump has set his sights on mars. pres. trump: it's been a long time since a bill like this has been signed, reaffirming our commitment to the core mission of nasa. lisa: as he made clear on a recent call with two american astronauts at the international space station. pres. trump: mars, what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to mars? peggy whitson: as your bill laid out, it'll be sometime in the 2030's. pres. trump: well, we want to try to do it during my first term, or, at worst, during my second term, so we'll have to speed that up a little bit, ok? [laughter] peggy whitson: we'll do our best. lisa: scientists say realistically, 2033 is the target date for a human mission to mars. let's say we dedicated all of the resources necessary to put a human on mars in the next ten years. what do we get out of that? john grant: well, i think you get something very fundamental about humans leaving the home planet.
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one single planet around a star. we're starting to kinda branch out and explore and become an interplanetary species. i think that, in and of itself, says something about humans sort of making a step beyond where we are right now. >> and lift off of the falcon 9 to the space station. lisa: but as nasa certifies new space vehicles and manned flights to the moon and mars are being planned, the challenger and columbia tragedies still loom large. those catastrophic events drove nasa to set a new safety benchmark of roughly one fatal accident per 700 flights. but the rush back to space may take on higher risk. a report in the "wall street journal" states nasa has offered "design guidance" to the private companies designing the capsule to carry astronauts back to the moon, that the risk of fatality should be no more than one in 240 flights.
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the reality is that manned flight is dangerous. for american astronauts, the risk of a catastrophic failure is still one in nine. obviously, the idea of space travel captures the american imagination. it's a part of our identity, but it also costs billions of dollars. is that something that u.s. can afford? john grant: i think everybody has to answer that question themselves. i think, based on the folks that i've talked with, that a lot of people share that intrigue in exploration, the excitement of discovery. it's something that has moved our culture forward for many, many years. lisa: but the years between now and astronauts on mars is now set. congress directed nasa to get humans near or on the surface in the 2030's. lisa fletcher for "full measure." sharyl: next on "full measure." a u.s. missile test to check the threat of a north korean attack. we check on the program that's had its share of failures.
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me to listen carefully. i'm ralph northam,aught and when survivors of the virginia tech shooting asked me to support an assault weapons ban and close the gun show loophole, i took on the fight. i saw what those weapons can do as an army doctor during the gulf war. now, i'm listening carefully to donald trump, and i think he's a narcissistic maniac. whatever you call him, we're not letting him bring his hate into virginia.
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sharyl: north korea's ongoing missile tests and ever-growing threat to target the u.s. with nuclear weapons prompted the latest pentagon test to shoot down incoming missiles. the launch was from california's vandenberg air force base to intercept a simulated missile "threat" launched from the pacific marshall islands. it was successful. but there are a few reasons to question the reliability of the safety net. since 2004, the interceptors have failed to hit and destroy target warheads in 6 out of 10 flight tests.
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coming up next week on "full measure." mri's are a powerful tool to diagnose and track disease. but there's concern that the contrast dyes sometimes used may be deadly for some. chuck noris and his wife had to confront an opponent he couldn't fight. she says when she came out of the room in the hospital, you took one look at her. what did you see? chuck: well, i saw death in her eyes. i saw her dying and i said, you know, i've got to do something. i can take her anywhere in the world, i'm blessed enough to have the money to do that, but where do i take her? sharyl: critical concerns about repeated tests that may do more harm than good. on the next "full measure." until then, we will be searching for more stories that hold powers accountable.
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>> from washington d.c. and around the world, this is "government matters" with francis rose. >> thanks for watching the weekend edition of "government matters," the only show covering the latest news, trends, and topics that matter to the business of government. i'm your host, francis rose. the trump administration is busy trying to fill thousands of political vacancies on the defense and civilian sides of government. first-time appointees need to figure out how agencies operate fast. the relationship between the leaders and the inspectors general is one of the most important. glen fine offers advice to colleagues in the i.g. community at all levels of government. >> general fine,


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