Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fear of a Swine Flu Epidemic in 1976 Offers Some Lessons, and Concerns, Today

In the midst of this new pandemic scare, old fears about vaccinations are beginning to resurface. The string of vaccinations administered in anticipation of the swine flue epidemic of 1976 lead to more than 30 deaths "caused" by Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis.

The exact relationship between the 1976 vaccine and Guillain-Barré has not been defined, as the Institute of Medicine concluded in 2003 that the “evidence favored acceptance of a causal relationship” but did not "establish" a causal relationship.

Elaine Su

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