Vasculitis and Vaccines: A Parent’s Primer

By NORMA ERICKSON | SANEVAX | OCTOBER 15, 2012

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is considered a rare group of disorders caused by inflammation of blood vessels. It is a condition which is easy to miss, or misdiagnose, because inflammation of blood vessels is capable of causing a wide range of symptoms which can be vague, generalized and/or non-specific depending upon whether veins or arteries are affected, where these blood vessels are located, how wide-spread the inflammation is, and the degree to which the blood flow is restricted in the affected area.[1] [2]

How vasculitis presents itself depends upon which tissues, organs or systems are affected, and to which degree they are affected by the impaired blood flow resulting from inflammation.

For example:

  • CNS (central nervous system) vasculitis[3] may cause headaches, confusion, changes in personality, seizures, vision problems, tingling, loss of feeling, weakness, paralysis or other neurological problems including permanent disability.
  • Churg-Strauss vasculitis[4] can have symptoms similar to asthma because of lung involvement. Can include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing up blood.
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura[5] can present as small raised purple areas under the skin (purpura) due to hemorrhage, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, or blood in the urine (hematuria) because of its systemic involvement.
  • Temporal arteritis[6] can cause headache and tender thick blood vessels on the side of the forehead. Can also cause fatigue, loss of appetite (then weight), fever, heavy sweating, fever, joint and muscle pain.
  • Cutaneous vasculitis[7] may cause petechiae (small red dots), purpura, urticaria (hives), bruising, or ulcers of the skin.

The symptoms listed above are by no means an exhaustive list, but it does give you some idea of the various possible manifestations and how easily vasculitis can be mistaken for a multitude of other disorders.

What does vasculitis have to do with vaccines?

If you do a simple Google search for ‘vasculitis and vaccines,’ you will see over 500,000 results. Consider the following quotes from a few of the scientific articles referenced:

  • “A      14-year-old boy who had no relevant previous history and who was not      taking any drugs presented with a livedo reticularis (mottling of the      skin), fever, loss of weight, testicular pain, and paresthesias two months      after receiving the third dose of a hepatitis B vaccination. Inflammatory      parameters (ESR and CRP) were high. The patient met the ACR diagnostic      criteria for polyarteritis nodosa.”[8]      [9]
  • “Here      we describe 4 cases of new onset or relapsing antineutrophil cytoplasmic      antibodies associated vasculitis occurring in timely association with      influenza vaccination. In the literature different subtypes of vasculitis      have been repeatedly reported after influenza vaccination.”[10]
  • “…anecdotal      cases continue to be reported of autoimmune phenomena following influenza      vaccination, including SLE, RA, pericarditis and various forms of      vasculitis.”[11]
  • “Giant      cell arteritis (GCA) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) are inflammatory      rheumatic diseases common in people over the age of 50 years. Herein, we      report 10 cases of previously healthy subjects who developed GCA/PMR      within 3 months of influenza vaccination (Inf-V). A Medline search      uncovered additional 11 isolated cases of GCA/PMR occurring after Inf-V.”[12]
  • “We      describe here a case of Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) that occurred 10      days after administration of the meningococcal      polysaccharide vaccine and came to the attention of      a Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) investigator (but did not occur      in the VSD cohort). Periodic case reports have      linked vaccines to HSP.”[13]
  • “The      aim of this study was to characterize the adverse events of attenuated      measles vaccine in mainland China. …28 cases of Henoch-Schonlein      purpura (HSP) were reported.”[14]
  • “We      report the original case of cutaneous periarteritis nodosa that occurred      one month following vaccination against hepatitis B.”[15]
  • “We      report a case of biopsy proven vasculitis, presenting as mononeuritis      multiplex, following influenza vaccination. The clinical picture evolved      rapidly into a syndrome indistinguishable from axonal Guillain-Barré      syndrome. This suggests a differential diagnosis for post-vaccination      neuropathy, with implications for management. We believe this is the first      report in which there was an associated peripheral neuropathy at      presentation. It raises issues about the aetiology and pathogenesis of      vaccination associated neuropathy.”[16]

It is important to note that none of these studies have identified a direct causal relationship between the vaccine administered and the outcomes observed. Each one, however, exhibits a strong temporal association between the vaccine and the outcome. This means that the observed adverse events occurred within a time-frame where it is reasonable to consider the event was potentially caused by the vaccine.

In general, disorders caused by vasculitis are serious and need to be evaluated promptly. The problem is they may be difficult (even for doctors) to recognize because of the significant overlap of signs and symptoms with other more common conditions.

According to Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld:[17] [18]

“Vaccination can have adverse autoimmune effects and may even trigger full-blown autoimmune disorders. At the moment, it is not possible to identify who is most prone to develop these side effects or disorders after immunization. Further research is needed to identify these individuals.”

The SaneVax Team could not agree more. More research does need to be done in the area of vaccine injuries – who is susceptible and why?

What do parents do while waiting for the research? 

Every time someone in your family receives a vaccination, have the person administering the vaccine record the name of the vaccine, the lot number and the expiration date. Keep a copy for your records.

Keep a journal of every new medical condition experienced after vaccination. Do not worry about whether or not you think it may be related to the vaccination – that is up to the experts to try and determine. The point is your written record may prove invaluable should you or your child actually be the victim of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

Talk to your doctor if you suspect vasculitis or any other adverse reaction. Keep in mind that since adverse reactions to vaccines are considered rare, most physicians are not trained to recognize them. You may have to back up any concerns with your own research. Should you need to do this, stick to published scientific articles and studies. Medical professionals will not consider other sources credible.

If you and your doctor disagree, consider obtaining a second opinion. You have every right to do so.

Learn how vasculitis is typically diagnosed:

In general, disorders caused by vasculitis are serious and need to be evaluated promptly. The problem is they may be difficult for even doctors to recognize because of the significant overlap of signs and symptoms with other more commonly encountered disorders.

The diagnosis of any type of vasculitis involves tests to demonstrate the presence of a strong inflammatory process. Tests which reveal inflammation throughout the body include erythrocyte sedimentation rate, blood tests to reveal anemia/increased white blood cells, or tests to demonstrate the presence of immune complexes and/or antibodies circulating in the blood. An x-ray procedure called angiography can sometimes be used or biopsies taken from affected organs to demonstrate inflammation.[19]


Australia Blames Fluvax for Children Convulsions

Australian Department of Health and Ageing reported that flu vaccination was “causally related” to fever and convulsions in 99 Australian children this year. Of those, 74 had no other possible cause.

New Scientist

Image: Reuters

As the northern hemisphere braces itself for the flu season, and for the first time the US recommends flu vaccination for everyone over 6 months of age, Australia has confirmed that its main seasonal flu vaccine, Fluvax, caused convulsions in 99 children, all of whom recovered. Fluvax is made by the Australian firm CSL.

Epidemiologists insist that the benefits of flu vaccines outweigh the risks, however, and are calling for better surveillance to pick up occasional problems faster.

Last March, Australia started vaccinating ahead of the southern hemisphere’s flu season. All the drug firms’ vaccines contained three killed strains of flu, one of which was last year’s pandemic strain, which persists as the dominant seasonal virus in Australia, North America and elsewhere.

In early April, reports came in of children with fever and convulsions following vaccination. On 22 April Australia suspended flu vaccination for children under 5. In late July, vaccination resumed with other makers’ vaccines, but not CSL’s Fluvax.

Fevers and convulsions

Last week the Australian Department of Health and Ageing reported that flu vaccination was “causally related” to fever and convulsions in 99 Australian children this year. Of those, 74 had no other possible cause, and Fluvax had been given to all 66 of those where the vaccine’s name was known, CSL says it is trying to identify the problem.

Fever is an occasional side effect in children given flu vaccines, and about 1.4 per 10,000 people vaccinated have seizures. High fever can cause seizures in 2 to 4 per cent of otherwise normal children 3 years and under, though no one is sure why. Fluvax caused seizures 50 times as often as would be expected with a vaccine.

In an analysis published in the journal Eurosurveillance, Heath Kelly, head of epidemiology at the state infectious diseases laboratory in Melbourne, calculates that Fluvax might have been worse than flu, causing two or three cases of convulsions for every case of flu it prevented that would have required a hospital stay during the pandemic.

Pandemic flu

But David Isaacs, professor of paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Sydney says the comparison is unfair. Children usually recover completely from fever-related seizures, though there can be brain damage in rare cases. By contrast, 1 per cent of children admitted to hospital with pandemic flu in Australia died.

Fluvax may well have prevented additional cases of convulsions caused by flu itself. In the biggest study so far of the neurological effects of the 2009 pandemic, Joshua Bonkowsky of the University of Utah reported last week that swine flu caused as many cases of neurological complications in five months as ordinary flu had in the previous four years. The most common were seizures. Moreover, the complications were more severe and lasting than ordinary flu. “Given how bad some of the complications from the H1N1 influenza were, we are really encouraging people to get vaccinated,” he says.

Kelly is also adamant about the need for vaccination. “The issue is not influenza vaccines in general, but one manufacturer’s vaccine in one year,” he says. “Such problems must be acknowledged rapidly on the rare occasions when they occur.”

Partly due to the scare, only 19 per cent of Australians were vaccinated this year. So far swine flu is known to have killed 16, including some with no previous health problems.

Death, Sweet Death: The Dangers of Aspartame

Sovereign Independent

Aspartame is a sugar substitute frequently used in products like diet sodas. It has been linked to brain cancer, memory loss,

All artificial sweeteners contain aspartame, a genetically engineered form of bacterial waste.

impaired vision, hearing loss, joint pain, asthma and the list continues.

For 16 years, the FDA refused to approve this best-selling sweetener aspartame, until a powerful politician finally got it legalized after calling in a favor. A three-year study confirmed a link between aspartame and cancer, but the FDA (food and drug administration) officials approved the toxic sweetener against the advice of their own scientists. http://www.wnho.net/whopper.htm

On the 14th July 2005, the BBC reported on the new study entitled: Fresh doubts about the safety of an artificial sweetener have been raised by Italian scientists who have linked its use to leukemia in rodents. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4683371.stm
Aspartame is marketed as ‘Nutra Sweet’, ‘Equal’ and ‘Spoonful’ so if the label says SUGAR FREE, leave well alone. In a presentation by the EPA (environmental protection authority) it was announced that in 2001, there was an increase of patients being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus and it was difficult to determine what toxins were causing this to be so rampant.

Toxicity of the methanol mimics multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus along with other conditions that resulted in many people being misdiagnosed. Apparently, the rise in the diagnosis of Lupus is almost as high as multiple sclerosis. Once patients were taken off their diet of soda, their symptoms dramatically decreased. The victim, not knowing that the aspartame is the cause of their ailments continued its use, thus irritating the lupus to such an extent that it becomes life threatening.

Also, in the case of misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis, once taken off the diet drinks, symptoms disappear and where there have been cases of vision and hearing loss, both improved dramatically. If you are suffering from symptoms of shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness fibromyalgia, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision or memory loss, you may have aspartame poisoning. It is reversible, but you must stop with the diet pops and sodas and look out for aspartame on food labels as many products list the sweetener in their ingredients.

Diet drinks are not diet products, they are chemically altered, multiple sodium and aspartame containing products, that make you crave carbohydrates and is more likely to cause weight gain. It has been found that aspartame is particularly dangerous for diabetics, with physicians believing that they have patients with retinopathy, but had in fact symptoms, caused by aspartame which drives blood sugar out of control thus causing the diabetic to suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are ‘Neurotoxic’ when taken without other amino acids that are necessary to make a balance.

During observations of thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, it was documented that they had a complete change in their behaviors after the aspartame had been removed from their diets. Ritalin and other behavior modification prescription drugs were no longer needed. The foods that the children were being fed that were supposed to have been better for them than sugar, were in fact slowly poisoning them on a daily basis.

It has been said aspartame can cause birth defects such as mental retardation if taken at the time of conception and during the early stage of pregnancy. There have been numerous cases relating to children who have suffered grand mal seizures amongst other neurological disturbances due to the use of Nutra Sweet. Artificial sweeteners should never be given to children!

It is not easy to convince parents that aspartame is bad for their child and may be the reason for the child’s illness. Stevia is a sweet herb that helps in the metabolism of sugar and would be ideal for diabetics. It is not a manufacture additive and has now been approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. For many years the FDA outlawed this naturally sweet food due to their loyalty to ‘Monsanto Chemical Company’.

Both Doctor Russell Blaylock and Doctor H. J. Roberts have posted details with case histories on the effects and use of the deadly poison aspartame on the internet. On March 2nd 2008, the Jerusalem Posts’ health page read, ‘Artificial Sweeteners May Cause Weight Gain’. This was based on research published by the American Psychological Association.

Apparently sweet foods provide a feeling to the body’s system that one is about to consume a lot of calories which in turn gears up the body’s digestive reflexes to deal with them, but when the sweetness is false as in diet drinks and not followed by an intake of calories, the system gets confused which interferes with the body’s ability to regulate the intake.

The former Secretary of Defense worked for a company called GD Searle Corporation (before getting involved in politics) that developed the sweetener aspartame and for years the company tried to get the stuff approved. But no one wanted to know. The FDA refused to approve it. Once he moved into politics, he appointed a new FDA commissioner and in 1981 the new commissioner approved aspartame despite the proven dangers and before we knew it, it was added to almost everything.

Aspartame can make you feel hungry and help you put on weight. It is a deadly neurotoxin hiding as a harmless additive. The year 2007 saw UK supermarket chains Sainsbury, M&S and Asda announce that aspartame would no longer appear in their own brand products. In April 2009 ‘Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe’ who also make aspartame filed a complaint of ‘malicious falsehood’ against Asda for their ‘No Nasties’ campaign. Asda won their legal case. South African retailer Woolworths announced it was removing aspartame from its own label foods in 2009 and in this year, 2010 the British Food Standards Agency launched its own investigation into aspartame amid the claims of side effects after consuming the substance.

The FDA recommends 50 milligrams of aspartame per kilo of body weight. “The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food concluded in 2002 that, while some minor effects on health may occur at very high doses, no effects are expected at normal levels of consumption.”