Researchers believe that two separate and fatal cases of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in young girls following the Gardasil injection may be related to the vaccine. Gardasil is injected in girls beginning at age 9 through age 26, to protect against two types of virus that cause cervical cancer and two that cause genital warts. It’s estimated 7 million young girls and women have received the vaccine, delivered in a three-shot series.
In both cases the young women died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and the disease progressed rapidly. Merck, the maker of Gardasil, does not believe that Gardasil could have caused the events.
But the two cases are very similar and researchers are suspicious that ALS in young people, affecting just one in 2-3 million, may be related to the vaccine.
Here’s what we do know. One of the girls was 14-years-old when she received Gardasil. Months after her third shot in the three-booster Gardasil series, she began tripping over easy hurdles in gym class. Soon both legs and her arms became weak, she began to limp and had trouble gripping objects and she felt pins and needles in her feet. Her muscled atrophied. Within a year she was paralyzed, a quadriplegic and used life support to help her breath before she died. The degenerative disease did not harm her mind, which Web MD reports was as sharp as ever.
The girl’ parents want people to know they are not anti-vaccine. After all, they had their daughter vaccinated with Gardasil. The girl was 15-years-old when she lost her battle with the rapidly degenerative neurological disease on March 15, 2009.
Another girl, 20-years-old had a rapid progression of ALS in a similar way within four months of her first Gardasil shot. She died 28 months later.
Our hearts go out to the parents and family and friends of these two young women.
The link between the symptoms and the shot is very suspicious to researcher Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth at the ALS Center at University of California San Francisco Medical Center. First, the symptoms progressed very rapidly, more so than in a typical ALS patient. And both girls had an inflamed spinal cord she said to doctors at the American Neurological Association, which is not normally seen in ALS.
And one doctor, Yadollah Harati, a neurologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says he will now ask his young ALS patients if they received the Gardasil vaccine. He didn’t think to ask before, he tells Web MD. The parents of the 14-year-old are asking anyone who visits their Web site in their daughter’s honor, Jenny’s Journey, to forward any cases of muscle paralysis following a Gardasil injection to their Web site so they can make sure that it is registered on the federal VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System). They fear other cases may not be reported since VAERS is not generally known to the public and there are no requirements to post adverse events, though hospitals and doctors are encouraged to do so.
Young ALS patients need to be compared to these girls and the adverse events reports will be combed further to see if there are any young women who reported ALS symptoms following Gardasil. So far there are none.
“Jenny could be the tip of a small iceberg of tragically similar, but underreported-to-VAERS, cases. This is why we need to fix VAERS, and we need to fix it now, so that we can track adverse events to vaccines more efficiently and more quickly.”
What has the U.S. done in light of these two similar deaths? Have health officials issued a warning to parents? Investigating the deaths further? Encouraging the public to report suspicious similar deaths?
No. In fact quite the opposite. With 44 girls dead following Gardasil injections and many more injured, you might think that federal health officials would put the brakes on Gardasil or at least launch an intense investigation into the injuries and deaths.
Instead, the U.S. recently required girls between the ages of 11 and 26 to be vaccinated with Gardasil before they become U.S. citizens, whether they want to or not.
And the FDA has just approved Gardasil for use in boys to fight genital warts while it downplays any side effects.
Is there any wonder that consumers are suspicious about the friendly link between the pharmaceutical industry and public health officials in the U.S.?