Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that has been linked to some kinds of vaccine injections. As the immune system begins to attack his or her own nerve cells, a patient with GBS can suffer a number of complications that last anywhere from a few weeks to several years—and some people may suffer fatal effects due to difficulty breathing.
Causes and Symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Roughly 3,000 to 6,000 people are diagnosed with GBS each year in the United States. The causes of GBS can vary widely, from vaccine reaction to bacterial infection and respiratory illnesses. While anyone can develop GBS, older adults are at greatest risk for developing GBS. If a person suffers chronic bouts of GBS, he or she is said to be suffering from Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP). Patients with widespread nerve damage may need to be placed on ventilators so that they are able to breathe.
Some of the most common symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome include:
- Muscle weakness or paralysis in the legs and arms
- A tingling or “pins and needles” in the fingers and toes
- A sudden “giving way” in the legs
- Difficulty walking
- Balance problems
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
There is currently no cure for Guillain-Barré Syndrome, but there are many treatments available to help patients recover from the condition. The most common therapies are high-dose immunoglobulin (IVIG), intravenous gamma-globulin (IVGG), and plasma exchange, all of which involve injecting the patient with therapies to boost his or her immune system. These infusions keep the patient’s body working and prevent further damage to the nervous system.
Vaccinations That Have Been Associated With Guillain-Barre Syndrome
In most cases, the symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome will start anywhere between a few hours to several weeks after vaccine administration. In order to get compensation for a vaccine injury, your claim will depend on proving the link between your injury and the immunization you received. Many different kinds of vaccinations have been linked to the development of GBS, including:
- Influenza Vaccine (Flu Shot). Researchers have found that GBS is more commonly associated with the flu shot than any other type of immunization, and is the most frequently reported neurological condition associated with the influenza vaccine.
- Gardasil® (HPV) Vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged reports of GBS after vaccination with Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination that is commonly given to prevent cervical cancer.
- Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B Vaccines. Many different inactivated virus vaccines are given to protect against hepatitis, including Twinrix, Recombivax HB, Hepagene, GenHevac B, and Engerix-B.
- DTaP. DTaP is given at several points in a patient’s life to protect against bacterial infection from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
- Meningococcal Vaccines. Meningococcal immunizations protect against bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening disease characterized by blood infections and damage to the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) is the form of the vaccine administered to patients.
- MMR vaccinations. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is one of the most common immunizations given to children. This vaccine is given in two doses several weeks apart, and the risk of side effects usually increases after the second dose. Side effects vary in severity but typically occur within a week to 12 days after the immunization.
Any person who suffers ill effects after immunization could be eligible for compensation without the need to file a lawsuit. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) offers injury payments to patients who suffered severe side effects from vaccinations, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome. If your claim to NVICP is denied, you may still be able to get compensation by filing a vaccine injury lawsuit. If you or someone you love is suffering after a vaccine administration, we can help you get justice. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, or take a moment to fill out our online contact form.