Vaccinations and GBS

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by gapsych, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I am also posting this on the health board as well as here it is such an important message for our compromised immune systems.


    Pearls before swine flu
    by Phil Plait, Aug 20 2009

    The Daily Mail is a UK newspaper that has a tendency, oh, every so often, of printing articles that sometimes don’t exactly represent reality.

    This is one such article. It links vaccinations for the swine flu to a neurological disorder called Guillaine-Barré Syndrome, or GBS. The article INFLATES THE DANGER (my caps) from vaccinations and may scare people into not getting their inoculations.

    And you know how I feel about that.

    Happily, a real doctor, my friend and fellow SkepticBlogger Steve Novella tears this apart in exquisite detail. Basically, GBS is an illness where a persons’s immune system attacks the myelin protein sheath covering nerves. This can lead to nerve damage and other problems, as it did in the swine flu outbreak in 1976. However, in general, if caught early it can be treated and the patient can expect a nearly complete recovery.

    Why are vaccinations involved? As Dr. Novella says,

    GBS can not only be triggered by the flu or other infections, but also by vaccines used to prevent infections. This is because vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system, to provoke an immune response – which is what causes GBS. The risk of getting GBS from the flu vaccine is about 1 in a million. This is very reliable data, as we have been using the same basic technology for the flu vaccine for decades and we have reliable statistics on GBS as treatment requires hospitalization. Some cases may be missed if they are very mild (probably rare, but also if a case is too mild to be recognized then who cares) or from misdiagnosis (also probably rare as it is fairly easy to eventually confirm the diagnosis even if it may be difficult initially).

    So yes, vaccinations can in fact trigger GBS. However, this is nothing new, despite the breathless Daily Mail article. It’s been known for years and doctors are trained to keep an eye out for it.

    And how big a risk is this?

    So the risks from the vaccine may vary slightly as new strains are being targeted, but over the last 30 years since the 1976 episode the risk of GBS has been steady at about 1 IN A MILLION- FAR LESS THAN THE RISK OF THE FLU ITSELF. (caps mine) million – far less than the risk of the flu itself.

    Therefore the accusation that the upcoming H1N1 flu vaccine is untested is not a fair or accurate statement. It is highly tested.

    So the antivax crew going around with their heads on fire screaming about the swine flu vaccine are, as usual, wrong, and presenting incredibly distorted "information". When you encounter anything the antivax people say, you really need to dig deeper than the info they give you. Like Apollo deniers and all the other antiscience crowd, they distort reality and don’t tell you everything you need to know to understand the actual situation.

    Does medical science know everything? No, of course not. But it sure knows a whole lot more than the antivaxxers do. As Dr. Novella says:

    The risk of GBS from the flu vaccine has been around 1 in a million – a very rare complication. The risk may not be any higher for the H1N1 vaccine. It is actually not known why the 1976 vaccine had a higher rate of GBS, but it has not been repeated in the last 30 years. Perhaps there is something about H1N1 that increases the risk of GBS, and for this reason monitoring GBS as the vaccine is administered is reasonable. So far, in preliminary tests of thousand of individuals with the new vaccine there has not been any increased risk of GBS, but this process in ongoing.

    There are no absolute guarantees in medicine – but the best evidence we have to date strongly suggests that the risk of the H1N1 flu is likely to be much greater than the risk of the vaccine itself.

    That’s something to always remember: despite the garbage conspiracy theory-toting antivaxxers are purveying, diseases tend to be a lot more dangerous than vaccination. Talk to your doctor, read what Steve Novella has to say, and get the real scoop on vaccination.
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Fredt, the article you provided does not state the info you provided below it.

    Below is info from the United States from AARP. It is questions and answers about flu and swine flu. No where do they state it has already been made and uses such harmful chemicals. There are no live viruses in the standard flu shot. I don't (and I don't believe any of us lay people) right now know what the Swine Flu vaccine will be made of. That will be to come for us.

    Yes, the entire HMO center where I go for medical care gets the regular flu shots and when I got my regular flu shot on Friday they said all of them would be getting the swine flu shot--so if the entire center is getting it (and we live in a tourist area where Snowbirds arrive from all over the world), then they are concerned about a potential outbreak here. By the way, we border Mexico and the concern was that those with swine flu may bring it across the border if they cross illegally and are at the drop houses. So last year the Sheriff and all his deputies had to take special precautions dealing with the human drop houses when they raided them and found the human cargo smugglers had brought across the border illegally.

    So let's get truthful info out and not scare tactics and I think it helps everyone.

    Q&A on Swine Flu
    Experts answer your questions
    By: Katharine Greider | Source: AARP Bulletin Today | Updated August 10, 2009


    • Swine Flu Cases

    • Flu Pandemic: What That Really Means

    • What We Know About Swine Flu

    • U.S. Monitoring Swine Flu Outbreak

    • Swine Flu: What It Is, How to Fight It

    Swine Flu. (CREDIT: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo)Q. This fall, should older Americans get the new swine flu vaccine, a regular seasonal flu shot or both?

    A. People age 50 and older have long been a top priority for seasonal flu vaccination, with those 65 and older especially at risk, and that still holds true. This group should get a seasonal flu shot as soon as the vaccinations are offered.

    With the H1N1 vaccine, it’s a different story. There will be limited quantities of the new vaccine. And when the Centers for Disease Control advisory committee met recently to come up with a list of priority groups for that vaccination, it placed men and women age 65 and older dead last. But the priority group for H1N1 shots did include people ages 25 to 64 who have an underlying condition like heart disease, asthma or diabetes.

    As H1N1 spreads across the globe, experts monitoring the cases say that older people appear to have some immunity to it. The worst cases have been seen in those under age 55. The new flu has struck hard at teenagers and young adults, causing a spate of outbreaks at schools and summer camps, while all but entirely sparing those in the older age group, who are most likely to develop dangerous and even lethal complications from seasonal flu.

    Q. I understand that the World Health Organization recently announced that it would no longer "count cases" of swine flu and deaths around the world. How does that make sense in the thick of a pandemic?

    A. Although the World Health Organization says the virus has spread with "unprecedented speed," the overwhelming majority of patients have recovered within a week of symptoms starting, "even without medical treatment." The WHO says because of the rapid spread and general mildness of symptoms, it's no longer necessary or helpful to count individual cases. The organization is, however, asking countries to track cases of severe or fatal H1N1 infection.

    Q. I’m planning to travel with my family outside the country for our summer vacation. Do we need to consider canceling our trip? If we go, what precautions should we take?

    A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has these recommendations for travel this summer.

    To prepare for your trip:

    * Make sure you are up to date with all your routine vaccinations, including a seasonal flu shot.

    * Take a travel health kit with basic first aid and medical supplies—including hand sanitizers and tissue packets. Know the health care resources in the area you will be visiting—if you need to get to a doctor or hospital, where would you go? Take phone numbers of the U.S. Embassy or consulate with you.

    * Check to see whether your health insurance plan covers you while you are abroad.

    During your visit:

    * Pay attention to news reports and announcements from the government and follow local public health guidelines.

    * All the everyday precautions you’ve heard before apply during your trip: Wash your hands often with soap and water—and use hand sanitizers if soap isn’t available. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, use a tissue if possible.

    If you get sick during your trip:

    * Seek medical care to see whether flu testing or treatment is needed. Although U.S. Embassies and consulates don’t have the authority to give medical care, they can help you locate medical services and inform family members that you are sick.

    * If you have a fever with a cough or sore throat, avoid travel for seven days after you become ill or at least 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms, whichever comes first.

    Q. Are there still travel restrictions to Mexico? What other countries may be risky?

    A. The CDC’s website has changed its health warning against travel to Mexico to a travel health precaution. The CDC recommends that travelers at high risk for complications from influenza—including those age 65 or older—discuss the risks and benefits of travel to Mexico with their doctor “and may want to consider postponing travel.” Mexican health authorities are still screening for the virus, so passengers showing symptoms may be asked to undergo an exam. The World Health Organization website has information updated daily on swine flu counts in most countries. If you have questions about travel to a destination, you can get up-to-date information from the CDC by calling 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

    Q. Americans of what age group are most affected by swine flu?

    A. So far, the median age of people with confirmed cases of swine flu is just 17 years old, with very few cases involving people over age 50, says Anne Schuchat, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schuchat, interim deputy director for the science and public health program at CDC, reported this update during a press conference Sunday, May 3. Seasonal flu typically affects the very young and the elderly she said and whether this new swine flu pattern holds remains to be seen.

    Q. Do antibacterial wipes and lotions kill the virus? Are they as effective as soap and water?

    A. The experts agree: Washing your hands well and often is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself against the swine flu virus and any number of other bugs. And yes, a soap-and-water scrub is the best option because it actually washes the organisms down the drain.

    If soap and water are not available and your hands aren’t visibly dirty, the second-best choice is an alcohol-based hand rub like Purell, which kills the virus. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) recommends a product of at least 60 percent alcohol. Check the label. Soaps containing antibacterial agents like triclosan haven’t been proven better than regular soaps at preventing infection in general.

    Q. Are some individuals exploiting fear of contagion to make a buck?

    A. Don’t they always? The scammers and spammers are already busy pitching “cures” for the swine flu, as well as products claiming to prevent it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun issuing warnings to offending websites. Don’t buy flu meds without a prescription. Report suspected swine flu fraud to the FDA.

    Q. Should I buy face masks from the drugstore?

    A. Lots of people are doing just that, but the masks’ usefulness for protecting you from the swine flu while you’re out and about is questionable. For one thing, the droplets from a cough or sneeze “drop out of the air at about six feet,” says Kevin High, M.D., who heads the infectious diseases department at Wake Forest University. Hand-contact transmission is much more likely than breathing airborne virus. Another thing: The masks many are buying are designed to keep people from breathing soot or being exposed to large-particle splashes. “It’s not clear that they really keep out viral particles,” says High. So-called N95 masks have smaller pores that do filter viruses, but are more expensive. They also may be uncomfortable for some older people, especially those with breathing problems, says Patricia Rosenbaum, R.N., an infection prevention expert and APIC spokesperson. Remember—the masks cannot be shared or reused and can themselves become contaminated. If the swine flu became widespread in your community, donning a mask might be part of a larger strategy to prevent transmission, say experts at the CDC. They may also be useful for health care workers in close contact with coughing, sneezing patients.

    Q. Do I need to wash clothing, jewelry and other personal items? What about household surfaces?

    A. It’s always a good idea to keep surfaces like telephones, doorknobs and computer keyboards wiped clean, says APIC’s Rosenbaum. But are you prepared to clean all the money in your wallet and spray down every drawer pull in the office? “We can’t sanitize everything in the world,” says Rosenbaum. That’s why hand cleaning is the key strategy. Take special care to wash around jewelry worn on the hands, she says.

    The CDC does suggest special hygiene precautions for households in which a swine flu patient is convalescing.

    Q. If I have flu symptoms, when should I go to the doctor?

    A. Though U.S. cases of swine flu have been described as “mild,” that’s a relative term, says Louise Dembry, M.D., director of hospital epidemiology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Like some cases of seasonal flu, she says, the illness is no bout of the sniffles, but tends to come on strong with sudden chills and aches, sore throat and coughing. “You know, you kind of feel like you’ve been hit by a truck,” she says. Symptoms like that, especially when coupled with recent travel to Mexico or known exposure to the swine flu, definitely warrant a call to the doctor. If you’re short of breath, have a very high fever, show signs of dehydration like dizziness—no matter what the cause—get seen promptly.

    Q. Is there a test for swine flu my doctor can give me?

    A. Yes. Your doctor may conduct various tests to identify influenza generally or rule out other infections. There’s only one that can identify the novel swine flu strain specifically. Newly developed by the CDC, the test kit is being delivered to authorized state laboratories. Your doctor takes a swab from your nose or throat and sends it to the lab for evaluation. Unfortunately, labs swamped with samples may be unable to turn them around quickly.

    For patients who seem highly likely to have the swine flu—say, someone with flulike symptoms and recent travel to Mexico—doctors may begin treating with recommended antiviral medicines right away, says High of Wake Forest. The antiviral drugs need to be started within 48 hours of symptom onset to be fully effective. “It’s important to figure out specifically what you have,” says High.

    Q. Are antiviral medicines safe for people 50 and older? What about people with heart problems and other chronic conditions?

    A. Generally speaking, yes. The two medicines approved for use against the swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, are quite safe and carry little risk for drug interactions, says High. The most common side effect is mild gastrointestinal upset.

    However, the difference in the drugs’ dosage form—Tamiflu is a pill; Relenza, an inhalant—does affect some older people. Especially for those with dementia, using the inhaler can be tricky because you have to time your breath, then hold it in. Two studies found that Relenza was not effective in preventing flu in nursing home populations, and the CDC does not recommend its use there. People with chronic lung disease like asthma also should contact their doctor before taking Relenza.

    Q. Should I avoid senior centers, public transportation, movies and other public places?

    A. No. There just aren’t enough cases of swine flu in American communities to warrant such a drastic precaution. “I wouldn’t really change my daily life much except by using the commonsense things all of us know—wash your hands a lot, avoid people who are obviously ill,” says High.

    As the situation develops, health authorities are issuing daily and even hourly updates. “If we reach the point where we either have to wear a mask to go out or should not be congregating in highly populated areas, we’ll get a directive from the CDC or local health department,” says Rosenbaum, an infection prevention nurse.

    If you’re sick, though, by all means protect others by staying home from work or school and avoiding crowded places. Everyone should use a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

    Q. When will there be a vaccine for swine flu? Would a shot for seasonal flu help protect me?

    A. There currently is no vaccine effective against the swine flu. Drugmakers are now receiving samples of the virus strain to begin work on a prototype vaccine, but full-scale development and manufacturing efforts will not get under way unless and until health authorities determine the threat warrants it. A safe, government-approved vaccine would not be ready for several months.

    Getting a seasonal flu shot is unlikely to protect you from swine flu.

    Q. Are there special precautions being taken for people in nursing homes and assisted living?

    A. At this stage, the critical point is keeping the virus out of nursing homes, where it could spread quickly among patients who are vulnerable to complications, says Kenneth Schmader, M.D., chief of geriatrics at Duke University Medical Center. “Almost always, it’s a health care worker or family member who brings the virus into the nursing home,” he says. No one with respiratory illness should be making a visit now. Check out APIC’s “Be a good visitor” brochure for more information.

    Long-term care facilities should have plans in place for coping with pandemic flu—and should be reviewing them now, says Schmader. The CDC recommends that such plans should include assigning a point person to monitor developments, protocols for tracking flulike symptoms among residents, and policies for isolating infected residents—in a single unit, for example. Adherence to the CDC guidance varies widely, judging from a study of Michigan and Nebraska nursing homes coauthored by the University of Michigan’s Lona Mody, M.D., and published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It found that while three-quarters of facilities had assigned a staff member to handle pandemic preparedness, half did not have a plan in place. About half had stockpiled commonly needed supplies like gloves and hand sanitizer, but less than half had conducted staff education on pandemic readiness.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/09/2009]
  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Thanks so much for the information.

  4. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I am asking you to stop hijacking my threads on the flu.

    I have reported you to ProHealth.

    Please respect my and others point of view.

    Feel free to start your own post.


    [This Message was Edited on 09/10/2009]
  5. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Fredt, I have not only marked your threads as inappropriate but have also reported you to PH.

    If you want to "fill in the gaps" put it on another thread. I don't mind people putting different viewpoints on one of my threads, but this is ridiculous.

    You have been repeatedly hijacking my flu thread.

    "Delete and repost all you want but the information I provided is NOT going away. I will not let you cover up this information. I'm now determined to provide fair and balanced information in response to these kinds of posts."

    This is called stalking.


    <br><br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 09/10/2009</i>]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/10/2009]
  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Hijacking is when you contribute five negative posts out of nine responses.

    Thats 55% of the posts.[This Message was Edited on 09/11/2009]
  7. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Let me explain from an outsider's point of view and maybe you can understand.

    I appreciate when someone actually puts an entire article here and then puts the website they got it from--in fact, that is my way of doing things and it helps people so much. That is also my way of getting accurate information from others. If someone comes here spouting facts themself but telling me I have to go research for them, I discount that person immediately as not reliable because they won't produce their facts. I'm someone who likes to see the facts and if you are trying to "get the facts out" then don't do it by telling people in your own words, and your best idea is to start by posting articles from good legitimate sources.

    If you have to post 5 posts in a small thread, then it can look like you are not there to provide truthful information, but may have other motives. And if you have other motives like believing the vaccines are biological weapons (which really is way off from us getting info on the regular vaccine and the swine flu vaccine), then it was a good move to place that as your own thread.

    We can all be on the board and get along.
  8. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    Gap said, " ... despite the garbage conspiracy theory-toting antivaxxers are purveying, diseases tend to be a lot more dangerous than vaccination."

    I disagree, Gap -- particularly relative to the H1N1 vaccine.

    While there have been a few deaths around the world from H1N1, what I'm reading about the USA is that the vast majority of H1N1 cases have been mild. Lots of college students contracting it, some hospitalizations, few if any deaths in the USA. Particularly for those of us who survived the mid-70s swine flu, there may be little to fear from H1N1. It's true, the vaccine could mutate to something more malevolent, however, in that case, the vacc being tested right now may not help us anyway. This has been a recent pattern with flu virus vaccs in the past decade.

    I have a good friend who as a young woman contracted GBS following the 1976 swine flu vaccination. She had a very close call and endured a lengthy hospitalization which included breathing assistance for many months, followed by treatment for partial paralysis over several years. However, she did eventually make a 95% recovery. Then, in 2007, her well-meaning GP recommended the seasonal flu vacc, because friend was now working in a public-school setting. Friend reviewed past GBS history with GP as well as her neurologist; both assured her that she was at zero risk for GBS recurrence. [So you got GBS in '76, their reasoning went ... we don't even know if it was that vaccine that triggered it ...]

    Long story short: Within 24 hrs of flu vaccine, friend was back in hospital on lung support. Fortunately she knew the signs & contacted her docs ASAP. Two years later, friend is still in somewhat fragile health, on what is presumed will be lifelong meds for her now-assumed to be chronic GBS. Needless to say, she will take her chances with the next round of H1N1.

    On another note:

    Wolfgang Wodarg is a respected medical specialist and Chairman of the Health Committee in the German Parliament. He has concerns about the new Novartis swine flu vacc that are getting very little press in the USA. Article in Bild (German newspaper):

    Beyond Wodarg's not inconsequential concerns, I have some of my own about the H1N1 vaccine.

    For the public at large, the risk of adverse reaction from the GBS vaccination may be fairly low. However it is my belief that certain subgroups within the general population are at increased risk with any vaccination. Those subgroups may include:

    1) Those with may be predisposed to autoimmune disease due to personal or family history. Autoimmune disease (GBS is only one) can be triggered by injected antigens, as well as stimulated by vaccine adjuvants that effectively (designed & tested to do so) amp up immune response. Adjuvants are cost-effective additions to vaccines, inexpensive chemicals that reduce the amount of time & labor-intensive antigen needed.

    My friend who contracted post-vacc GBS did not know at the time that she was celiac (an autoimmune disease).

    2) Those with Squalene sensitivity. It appears that squalene is the adjuvant being used by both Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline in the swine flu vaccines currently being tested. Injected squalene has been implicated in contributing to chronic inflammatory disease development (arthritides) in research animals and in Gulf War Syndrome (anti-squalene antibodies are common) in humans.

    Since squalene vacc adjuvants have yet to be FDA approved in the US, most of us don't know whether we are squalene-sensitive or not. The use of squalene adjuvants in anthrax vaccines for the US Military was a non-FDA approved use.

    3) Those with methylation cycle deficits due to genetics, environmental overload, or specific nutrient deficiencies. Methylation cycle deficits have potential to hamper normal removal of vaccine adjuvants, carrier chemicals and virus from the body -- which leaves the chemicals & immune fragments hanging around in the body longer. Mischief potential.

    4) Those with egg allergy. The primary concern of vacc manufacturers is precipitating an anaphylactic reaction, which is dangerous for both the vaccine subject (life/death) as well as for the manufacturer (legal/expense).

    Persons suffering from the "milder" (non-life-threatening) forms of food allergy may be relatively unaware of the cause of vague, unspecific symptoms that plague their lives on a chronic or occasional basis. However those folks are at increased risk from vaccine reaction because the immune system is being loaded/stimulated to a greater degree than it would be in those without egg allergy. Recent research has been showing that (for a variety of hypothesized reasons) the overall incidence of food allergy in the US population has been increasing.

    Some of the anti-vaxxers may be semi-hysterical -- however, there are a lot of Chicken-Littlers out there with respect to H1N1. Is the sky REALLY going to fall if we don't take the jab?
  9. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    I believe you WILL have a choice!

    I've been speaking with my family in Canada about Swine Flu preparations. There's likely to be more than enough vaccine for anyone who chooses to get it.

    Sorry to hear of your illness/flu. Can you be tested to detemine your antibody titre to H1N1? I only mention this as a possibility -- NOT to add to your stress level! Seems like you are still under the weather & often it's better to be "less sick" when getting a vacc -- but you are an RN, you know when it's a good idea/when not.

    There is an antibody level test, the pharmas utilize it -- whether or not available to general public, I'm unsure.

    Best wishes, get well.