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LONDON – There may be a possible link between the swine flu jab and an increased risk of developing a rare nerve disease, admit health watchdogs.
Experts are carrying out studies to examine a possible link between the vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis and even death.
Authorities have always denied any link although it had been suspected that a previous swine flu vaccine had caused the disease in the US in the 1970s.
Now the Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published a report that suggests that further tests are to be carried out, reports the Telegraph.
It reads: “Given the uncertainties in the available information and as with seasonal flu vaccines, a slightly elevated risk of GBS following H1N1 vaccines cannot be ruled out.”
It is not known precisely what causes GBS but the condition attacks the lining of the nerves, leaving them unable to transmit signals to muscles effectively.
It can cause partial paralysis and mostly affects the hands and feet – but it can be fatal if it paralyses the respiratory system.
A vaccine used to combat a different form of swine flu in the US in 1976 led to 25 deaths from the condition, compared with just one death from swine flu itself.
The MHRA had 15 suspected GBS cases after vaccination – and six million doses of the swine flu jab Pandemrix were given.