Most vaccines have proved to be useful in preventing the spreading of viruses and diseases. However, some people who receive vaccinations have adverse reactions that are followed by worsening symptoms.
Each year, hundreds of people across the country experience adverse reactions to vaccinations. Flu vaccination injuries are among the most common types of injuries and often manifest through neurological disorders such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).
While no research confirms the link between Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP and flu vaccine, some cases have established a possible connection between ITP and the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella.
What Is Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)?
ITP is an immune condition, commonly known as a bleeding disorder, in which the blood doesn’t clot normally. Idiopathic means the disease’s cause is unknown, Thrombocytopenia refers to the decreased platelets number in the blood, and Purpura explains the skin discoloration from bruising.
People diagnosed with ITP have an unusual reduction in the number of platelets in the blood. Thrombocytes, or platelets, are cells that control or reduce bleeding. Having fewer platelets in the blood can lead to bleeding gums, easy bruising, and bleeding in the brain. ITP patients often manifest purple bruises inside the mouth or on the skin. These bruises may appear as purple or red dots called petechiae.
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura affects approximately four to eight out of every 100,000 children in the U.S. For those at younger ages, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is more common among females, while in those at older ages, it may be more common in males. Viruses such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox have been linked to ITP.
ITP and MMR Vaccine
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura has been related to viral infections and a variety of immunization shots during childhood. While ITP is an autoimmune disorder, and the cause is unfamiliar, some case studies link it to MMR vaccination because some patients experienced the first symptoms within six weeks after vaccination.
In a study published in 2001 in the Archive Diseases in Childhood, researchers from the Public Health Laboratory Service analyzed specific hospital records of children under the age of five who were admitted for ITP therapy within six weeks after MMR vaccination. By analyzing the data, researchers determined that two out of three cases of ITP that occur within the six weeks after MMR vaccination are caused by the vaccine. The measles and rubella components are considered to be the possible triggers.
Children diagnosed with ITP have the short-term form of the disorder with moderate symptoms. For most patients, no treatment is needed. There is no clear evidence that those with a previous history of ITP are at greater risk due to the MMR vaccination. Also, there is no clear evidence that MMR is linked to chronic ITP.
ITP Signs and Symptoms
A typical platelet number varies between 150,000 and 450,000. In children diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, the count is fewer than 100,000. If left untreated or if the patient has severe bleeding following an injury, the count may get even lower, down to 10,000.
Platelets’ function is to help stop internal bleeding; therefore, the main ITP symptom is severe bleeding. Additional symptoms may vary between patients. The most common ITP and vaccines symptoms include:
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Bleeding in the brain – This is the most alarming ITP symptom. Any head injury that occurs in a child with a decreased platelet number can result in bleeding that may be fatal.
- Blood in the stool, urine, or vomit
- Purpura spots – These bruises under the skin usually appear around the knees or elbows.
- Petechiae – These red dots are the results of small bleeds.
ITP symptoms may lead to severe blood disorders and medical conditions.
ITP Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura starts with a thorough analysis of the patient’s medical history and a detailed examination. If necessary, the doctor may also perform a blood count, additional urine testing, and a bone marrow analysis.
The blood count measures the blood cells’ number, size, and maturation. The additional urine testing will measure any internal bleeding or possible infections. The doctor will then perform an analysis of bone marrow taken from the hip or thigh bones to check the child’s production of thrombocytes and exclude any unusual cells that could impact platelet counts.
After a thorough examination, the doctor will determine the severity of the child’s disorder and prescribe therapy. Depending on the condition (chronic or acute), the child’s age, his/her tolerance to medications, and the disease’s progression, the doctor may prescribe steroids, IVGG, infection treatment, splenectomy, or hormone therapy.
Not all ITB children require treatment. However, frequent visits to the doctor’s office and supervision of the condition are necessary for all patients.
How does the MMR vaccine trigger Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura?
In some cases, patients diagnosed with measles can develop ITP. Since the MMR vaccine contains measles, some children who receive the shot will be at risk of developing Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.
Besides MMR, what other vaccines can cause ITP?
While more cases and research studies are focused on the link between ITP and the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella, some studies examine the relationship between ITP and other vaccines, including Hepatitis A.
Can I file a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?
The VICP is a federal government program that compensates vaccine recipients who have been diagnosed with disorders, illnesses, and injuries. The program includes Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura from MMR vaccination, provided the claimant can demonstrate that he/she received an MMR vaccine and experienced the common ITP symptoms.
How Can Sadaka Associates Help ITP Vaccine Injury?
Due to the complexity of medical science and law implicated in vaccine injury cases, achieving a successful claim requires the experience of a professional ITP injury attorney.
At Sadaka Associates, you can count on our SadakaFirm associates to provide useful advocacy to help you or your loved one recover damages for Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura vaccine injury.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your options.
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