Risk of ADEM for children getting vaccines

Whether or not to vaccinate your child is a hot-button issue. But regardless of the side you take, there are risks when anyone receives a vaccine. One risk, while very rare, is that a child can contract acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) after receiving a vaccine.

While it is rare, there have been reported incidents of vaccines causing acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), more often in children than adults. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it is believed that ADEM affects about 1 in 125,000 to 250,000 individuals each year. Of these cases, about five percent are believed to involve vaccines.

What is ADEM?

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis has initial symptoms that are similar to multiple sclerosis (MS), and can often be misdiagnosed. ADEM is an inflammation in the brain that results in nerve damage. Specifically, the inflammation causes damage to the coating on nerve fibers, which is called myelin.

This nerve damage can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of motor control or balance
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness or numbness

In some extreme cases, ADEM can also lead to a coma or paralysis.

What can you do if your child develops these symptoms?

Luckily, ADEM is treatable, and most patients recover from this condition. So, if you believe your child has ADEM, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you believe your child's condition was caused by a vaccine, you may be able to secure compensation for the injury. There have been reported incidents where ADEM developed after measles, mumps, rubella and flu vaccines. ADEM can develop days or even months after a vaccine.

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program provides compensation to victims of vaccine injuries in the United States. An attorney can help you through this process and explain your options after a vaccine injury.

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