Epub: Menge et al. Neuromyelitis Optica Following Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. Neurology. 2012 Jun 20.
The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil (Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, NJ) (qHPV-vac) was recently approved for immunization of adolescent girls to prevent cervical cancer. Recently, 5 cases of MS were reported following qHPV-vac vaccination. These investigators report a further 4 subjects who developed symptoms of neuromyelitis optica (NMO)(3) within months after qHPV-vac inoculation.
Papillomavirus has been associated with the development of cervical cancer.
“Surprised? I am not; without a formal population study any conclusions are impossible. Most adolescent girls receive the vaccine in Europe and as it stimulates the immune system it therefore may trigger MS attacks; not to dissimilar to infections in general. Did you know that a third of MS relapses occur within the at risk period of an infection, i.e. up to 6 weeks after a symptomatic infection? As MS is a relatively common condition several MSers will have their first attack soon after vaccination. This does not mean that the vaccine is necessarily causal.”
“The purpose of the HPV vaccine is a noble public health effort. If you have ever seen a woman die from cervical cancer you will know why. The governments of the world are, however, missing the point about the HPV vaccine; they need to immunise boys as well. Vaccination is about herd immunity you need to get the immunity rate above 90% in the population to break the cycle of transmission. Vaccinations are a public health initiative, they are done to reduce a disease in the population, and are not about an individual’s health. In other words you have to accept a low level of side effects in people who receive the vaccine so that the general population derive the benefit. Getting yourself vaccinated is therefore a very altruistic behaviour. Imagine if we could vaccinate the population against EBV to prevent people from getting MS? What level of side effects would the population prepared to accept from the vaccine programme to prevent MS? I suspect a lot. What do you think?”