Do vaccines cause multiple sclerosis?
The short answer is maybe. Sadaka Law has been successful in linking flu shots to both the development of MS and the worsening of pre-existing multiple sclerosis in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. But these are single cases and, of course, past results do not guarantee future outcomes. The science does exist, however, to explore the question of vaccine causation of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. MS causes the body’s immune system to attack and damage the myelin sheath, a protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. Damage to the myelin disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
For years, researchers have looked into the relationship between vaccines and MS. The two most prominent studies explored how the flu vaccines, hepatitis B vaccines, and tetanus vaccines influenced multiple sclerosis.
The initial study assessed 121,700 nurses between 1976 and 1989. Among the nurses, 192 developed MS, but the research showed no connection between their illness and the hepatitis B vaccination they received.
The second study monitored 643 patients with MS relapse symptoms between 1993 and 1997. Hepatitis B vaccine, tetanus, and influenza vaccine did not affect the patients’ relapse rates. However, in another study, it was shown that influenza itself (the disease not the vaccine) can cause a relapse in MS. This could mean that the components of the influenza vaccination could start an autoimmune response attacking myelin through a process called molecular mimicry.
Despite the clear link between vaccines and MS, cases of people developing the illness after vaccinations do exist.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
How the damage to the myelin by MS will affect the patient’s life depends on the nerves attacked. In severe cases, patients lose the ability to walk.
Symptoms of MS can vary widely from person to person and range from mild to severe. Patients with multiple sclerosis may experience numbness or tingling in the limbs, difficulties with balance and coordination, problems with vision, fatigue, and depression. In some cases, people with MS may also experience more serious symptoms such as paralysis or blindness.
The location of the affected nerves determines the symptoms:
- Numbness or weakness in limbs on one side of the body
- Electric-shock sensations running from the back to the limbs (a/k/a Lhermitte’s phenomenon)
- Loss of coordination and unstable posture
- Partial or complete loss of vision
- Painful eye movement
- Reduced sexual, bowel, and bladder function
- Blurry or double vision
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or pain in limbs
Other conditions that could be a sign of multiple sclerosis
Optic neuritis is one of the most common initial symptoms of MS. It is characterized by sudden, severe vision loss in one eye that is usually accompanied by pain. Most people with optic neuritis recover their vision within several weeks, although some experience persistent vision problems.
A clinically isolated episode (CIE) is a neurological event that lasts at least 24 hours and is caused by inflammation or demyelination in the central nervous system. A CIE may be the first symptom of MS, but it can also occur in people who have had MS for some time.
Some MS patients recover from symptoms and then relapse, while others experience a lengthy remission without seeing symptoms return. Sadaka Law has recovered compensation for the worsening of multiple sclerosis from the seasonal flu vaccine.
What causes multiple sclerosis?
It is widely accepted that MS is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, a protective covering that surrounds nerve cells.
There are several theories about what triggers the immune system to attack the myelin sheath, but no one knows for sure. Some scientists believe that a virus or other infection may be to blame. Others believe that MS is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Who is at risk for developing multiple sclerosis?
Certain risk factors may increase your risk of developing ms, including:
- Family history: Siblings or parents with MS increase the likelihood that you might develop the disease.
- Smoking: Smokers who develop MS are more likely to relapse after recovering compared to non-smokers.
- Age: People of all ages can develop MS, but the onset of the illness typically occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Sex: Women with multiple sclerosis are more likely to relapse than men.
- Infections and autoimmune diseases: Epstein-Barr and other viral infections increase the risk of MS. Autoimmune disorders have the same effect, including pernicious anemia, psoriasis, thyroid disease, and type 1 diabetes.
- Race: People of Northern European descent are more likely to suffer from MS.
- Vitamin D: Low vitamin D increases the risk of MS.
SADAKA LAW HAS SUCCESSFULLY LINKED FLU SHOTS TO THE DEVELOPMENT AND WORSENING OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS*
*past results do not guarantee future outcomes
What are the treatments for multiple sclerosis?
MS does not have a cure, but treatments exist to manage symptoms and accelerate recovery from these attacks. Example treatments include immunosuppressants, physiotherapy, chemotherapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
The typical MS patient experiences repeated relapse and remission. During the relapse, they may experience new symptoms that last for days or weeks. Remission follows, and it lasts for months or years.
Around 50% of patients have secondary-progressive MS, while 10 to 15% have primary-progressive MS. Secondary-progressive MS patients experience relapsing-remitting MS, while primary-progressive MS patients recover fully and do not relapse.
Is there a link between Multiple Sclerosis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis?
There is no doubt that vaccines can cause neurological damage. One of the classic examples is ADEM caused or triggered by the influenza vaccine.
There is no clear evidence of a link between ADEM and MS, but some researchers believe that ADEM may be a risk factor for developing MS. People who have had ADEM are more likely to develop MS than people who have not had ADEM, but it is not clear whether this is because ADEM causes MS or because both disorders are caused by the same underlying factors.
What is ADEM?
Acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath that protects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This results in inflammation and damage to the myelin, which can lead to a variety of symptoms including paralysis, blindness, and problems with coordination and balance.
ADEM is considered a rare condition, occurring in approximately 1-5 per 100,000 people each year. It most often affects children and young adults but can occur at any age. The cause of ADEM is not completely understood, but it is thought to be triggered by an infection or another event that stimulates the immune system. Treatment typically involves high-dose corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation and help repair the damaged myelin.
Can multiple sclerosis be caused by vaccines?
Maybe. Sadaka Law has been successful in linking the flu shot to both the development of multiple sclerosis and the worsening of pre-existing multiple sclerosis. However, past results do not guarantee future outcomes. There is also research that shows that influenza (the disease not the vaccine) can cause a relapse in ms patients. The hepatitis b vaccine has also been considered a cause of multiple sclerosis.
If you think your multiple sclerosis was triggered by a vaccine then we want to hear your story. Give our experienced vaccine injury lawyers at Sadaka Law a call 1-800-810-3457.
What is the Vaccine Injury Table?
The Vaccine Injury Table is a list of injuries and conditions that are presumed to be caused by vaccines. If you develop one of these injuries or conditions after being vaccinated, you may be eligible for compensation from the federal government. Conditions like anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, and seizures are on the table.
What is the difference between on-Table and off-Table injuries?
Seeking compensation for off-table vaccine-related injuries is possible. It requires proving that the vaccination is responsible for the injury or illness, and this burden is on the petitioner.
The court will presume the vaccination caused an on-table injury if the petitioner shows the damage occurred within the timeframe prescribed by the Vaccine Injury Table.
Is multiple sclerosis on the Vaccine Injury Table?
No. The Vaccine Injury Table contains a list of vaccines and causal illnesses, and it undergoes frequent updates. For example, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) recently found a place on the list.
If more people report developing multiple sclerosis after vaccinations, it may eventually enter the table.
Will I receive compensation if my illness is not on the Vaccine Injury Table?
The Vaccine Injury Table contains those recognized by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) that qualify for compensation. However, if an injury or illness is not on the table, such as multiple sclerosis, you can still seek compensation.
Sadaka Law helps clients who have off-table injuries. We prepare the case and file a petition before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. At the end of a successful process, you will receive compensation for your pain and suffering and other expenses.
Do you suspect that a recent vaccination caused your MS diagnosis? Let Sadaka Law evaluate your claim for an off-table injury. We will provide you with honest feedback regarding your chances of compensation.
Links: Here is a link to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (National MS Society) for more information.