The homeopathic remedy Lathyrus sativus has been found to correspond most closely in its symptomatology to central nervous system polio, and has been used with great effectiveness both for prophylaxis of exposed individuals and for treatment in the early stages of the illness, before irreversible damage has occurred. According to Dr. Shepherd, a Dr. Taylor Smith of Johannesburg used Lathyrus 30c, one dose every 16 days, in 82 healthy people (aged six months to 20 years) living in a seriously infected area, 12 of whom were direct contacts. This regimen was continued for the duration of the outbreak, and not one of these people developed poliomyelitis.
Dr. Smith also used Lathyrus 30c in three doses, 30 minutes apart, for a second group of 34 children who were ill with fever, neck rigidity, and muscle tenderness of varying severity. All of these children recovered promptly and completely, without any sequelae.
Dr. Grimmer of Chicago, a well known homeopath of the thirties and forties, recommended Latharus 30c or 200c in a single dose repeated every three weeks for the duration of the epidemic, and stated most emphatically, from his own experience, that paralysis will not develop in those so treated. Other remedies may be required for the illness itself, at the first sign of which a physician should, of course, be consulted.
Wild-type measles is a strong, febrile illness lasting at least one or two weeks, with a long incubation period of 14 to 21 days; a characteristically smooth, confluent rash; "measly" or runny catarrh of eyes and nose; and a sizable risk of further developments, such as pneumonia, otitis media, or even laryngitis of the croupy or whooping-cough type. The incidence of measles in susceptible contacts approaches 100 percent; and in populations not previously exposed to it, the fatality rate may be 20 percent or more. After generations of contact with European and North American cultures, it became a largely self-limited illness for these populations, one still memorable but producing complete recovery and a permanent or lifelong immunity in the vast majority of cases.
The prophylaxis and treatment of measles varies somewhat from outbreak to outbreak, the genus epidemicus corresponding most closely to Pulsatilla in Hahnemann's series, Bryonia in Dr. Shepherd's experience, and probably other remedies in other times and places. In the U.S., largely because of mass vaccination programs, acute measles is now predominantly a disease of adolescents and young adults, undoubtedly involving some genetic interaction with the vaccine virus; and it will probably call for still other remedies. Pulsatilla remains the remedy most often recommended for prophylaxis, although my own experience is still too limited to confirm or refute it.
Mumps, or epidemic parotitis, resembles measles in its highly contagious nature and its predilection for the older age groups as a result of the vaccine program; but it is rather milder, as a rule. After an incubation period of three weeks, it begins with fever, runny nose, tenderness around the ears, and swelling of the parotid on one side, spreading to the other in a few days. About 25 percent of boys with mumps show swelling and inflammation of one or both testicles; in girls, the ovaries and breasts are occasionally affected. Residual scarring and atrophy of one testicle is sometimes seen in adolescent boys and young men.