By Allison Gandey via Medscape Medical News
October 28, 2009 (Baltimore, Maryland) — Investigators are reporting a case of motor neuron disease after immunization with the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil. The Merck product is designed to prevent infection with several types of human papillomavirus.
Presenting here at the 134th annual meeting of the American Neurological Association, researchers describe a case of rapidly progressive disease leading to the death of a 14-year-old girl. Symptoms began 2 months after the last dose of Gardasil.
“Pathological features support the temporal association of the clinical presentation and vaccination and provides supporting evidence that immune-mediated reactions to the nervous system are potential risks after Gardasil vaccination,” Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, MD, director of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center at the University of California–San Francisco, told the meeting.
“Our patient received 3 doses of Gardasil with symptom onset 2 months after her last dose,” the poster presenters wrote. “Despite treatment with aggressive immunosuppression, her weakness relentlessly progressed and she died of respiratory failure 21 months after the onset of her weakness.”
Postmortem evaluations revealed widespread infiltrates of T lymphocytes and macrophages in the grey and white matter at all levels of the spinal cord. Researchers also report extensive demyelination and severe loss of motor neurons.
In September, investigators presenting at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis annual meeting reported cases of autoimmune disorders after immunization with Gardasil. Two groups presented at the meeting — one identified a case of multiple sclerosis after vaccination and the second a case of neuromyelitis optica.
original link: www.ahrp.org
What possible risk/ benefit standard can justify giving an inadequately studied vaccine whose risks include serious, permanent adverse effects–including death– to millions of girls and women–who will likely never get cervical cancer? Two reports in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  and an editorial written by Dr. Charlotte Haug, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, have re-ignited a debate about the rationale of encouraging–in some instances mandating–mass inoculation of women and girls (as young as 11) with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Below, Dr. Haug raises fundamental medical questions that need to be considered before adopting an invasive medical treatment whose documented risks–including 32 post-vaccination deaths–outweigh the evidence of potential benefits for the populations being targeted for “preventive treatment.”
“Whether a risk is worth taking depends not only on the absolute risk, but on the relationship between the potential risk and the potential benefit. If the potential benefits are substantial, most individuals would be willing to accept the risks. But the net benefit of the HPV vaccine to a woman is uncertain. Even if persistently infected with HPV, a woman most likely will not develop cancer if she is regularly screened. So rationally she should be willing to accept only a small risk of harmful effects from the vaccine.”
Why then is the target population for Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine, girls and young women in the US and other industrialized countries who are LEAST at risk of dying from cervical cancer? They are least at risk because they are protected by regular PAP screens that identify early signs which are effectively treatable.