-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A British study finds that
children and teens who were vaccinated during the 2009 swine flu
outbreak are at increased risk for narcolepsy, a disorder that
causes people to fall asleep during the day.
The particular flu vaccine involved has never been licensed for
use in the United States, according a statement on the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Researchers looked at data from children and teens aged 4 to 18
who were treated at sleep centers and neurology centers in England,
and concluded that receiving the Pandemrix vaccine was associated
with a 14- to 16-fold increased risk of developing narcolepsy.
They also determined that one in 52,000 to 57,500 doses of the
vaccine are associated with narcolepsy, according to the study
published online Feb. 26 in the journal
The findings are consistent with previous studies in other
countries, said Elizabeth Miller, of the Health Protection Agency
in the United Kingdom, and colleagues. For example, a 2012 study
from Finland found a 13-fold increased risk of narcolepsy in
children and teens aged 4 to 19 who received the Pandemrix
The authors of the new study wrote that the findings do indicate
a "causal" link between the vaccine and the sleep disorder. They
added, however, that the risk may still be overestimated and added
that long-term monitoring of children and teens who received the
vaccine is needed to determine the exact level of risk.
The 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic sickened millions of people and
caused more than 18,000 deaths in more than 200 countries. In
England, the Pandemrix vaccine was introduced in October 2009. By
March 2010, 24 percent of healthy children younger than age 5 and
37 percent of those aged 2 to 15 in an at-risk group had been
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
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