Study boosts link between flu vaccine, sleep disorder

by France24.com  |  published on March 1, 2013

flu vaccine

A study in England has strengthened evidence from Scandinavia that a vaccine used to prevent pandemic flu boosted the risk of sleep disorder among teens and children, doctors said on Tuesday.

Using the Pandemrix vaccine increased the risk of narcolepsy among people aged four to 18 by a factor of 14 compared to those who did not get the jab, they said.

The risk in absolute terms was between one in 52,000 people and one in 57,000, but this figure may be an over-estimate, according to the study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of the nervous system that causes excessive drowsiness, often causing people to fall asleep uncontrollably.

It normally occurs among 25-50 of every 100,000 people, although figures are sketchy, the study said.

Pandemrix was the main vaccine used to fight the 2009-2010 outbreak of H1N1 “swine” flu, a much-feared pandemic involving a novel strain influenza virus.

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