Orac at Respectful Insolence has a post about the invented condition Post Gardasil Syndrome. Norma at Sanevax, one of the anti-vaccine sites, is pushing the creation of this syndrome. In order to do that, she uses a couple of anecdotes about things that happened following the Gardasil HPV vaccine. (It is very telling that a web search for Post-Gardasil syndrome shows only alt-med and anti-vaccine sites but no actual credible medical sites.)
I just took a minute and tabulated the components of Post-Gardasil Syndrome:
Brittany from Ohio, Camille from Quebec, and Iraida Ruiz from Spain suffer from the following symptoms:
peripheral neurological disorder, abnormal pupillary function and dilation, peripheral neuropathy in both legs, decreased endocrine activity and function, idiopathic epilepsy, liver function suppression, GI tract disorders, chronic Guillain-Barre-like symptoms, and hormone problems, fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida, Bad headache and bad pain in her right ear, deafness in this ear, blurred vision on the right eye, deviation of the mouth towards the right side, lost feeling and sensitivity in her right arm and in both legs. She cannot walk and she is in a wheelchair.
Wendy’s daughter suffered from a rude doctor and lack of injection.
There are probably more symptoms that could be added, at least in her mind. This is not how syndromes are named. The primary reason for calling something a syndrome is an association between several symptoms that are clinically related. Preferably, there should also be a plausible biological rationale that connects the symptoms, although, admittedly, that is often not determined.
She goes on further:
Consider the serious adverse reactions reported after Gardasil injections. Steven Rubin posted disturbing data on the MedAlerts Blog (http://medalerts.org/analysis/archi…), sponsored by NVIC, regarding reports filed with VAERS. Refer to the chart in the blog for reference.
Number of Serious Events Reported to VAERS by Disease:
The chart clearly illustrates serious HPV vaccine injury reports filed were more than double the number of similar events reported for other ‘CDC-recommended vaccines’ administered in the 7-18 age group despite the fact that Gardasil is not yet the most widely used vaccine in that cohort.
Any VAERS report that indicates hospitalization, permanent disability, life-threatening illness, congenital anomaly or death is classified as serious.
Of the 75 FDA-approved vaccines, two HPV vaccines account for 16% of the entire VAERS database.
The Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) is a mechanism of the CDC to collect adverse effects from vaccines. In addition to VAERS, there are two other reporting systems in place in the US.
- The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project–a collaboration between CDC and 10 health care organizations which monitors and evaluates adverse events following vaccination.
- The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network– a collaboration between 6 academic centers in the U.S. which conduct research on adverse events that might be caused by vaccines.
From the CDC report from VAERS on Gardasil, is prefaced by the following statement.
VAERS data cannot be used to prove a causal association between the vaccine and the adverse event. The only association between the adverse event and vaccination is temporal, meaning that the adverse event occurred sometime after vaccination. Therefore, the adverse event may be coincidental or it may have been caused by vaccination, however we cannot make any conclusions that the events reported to VAERS were caused by the vaccine.
It is this concept of temporal correlation as being differentiated that anti-vaxers have the most difficulty explaining. Although I suspect at least some must be wilfully ignorant and continue to ignore the difference in order to further their propaganda.
In addition, they are not above twisting the data. Again from the CDC Gardasil site.
The vast majority (92%) of the adverse events reports following Gardasil® vaccination were mild and included, pain and swelling at the injection site (the arm), fever, dizziness, nausea, and fainting. Syncope (fainting) is common after injections and vaccinations, especially in adolescents. Falls after fainting may sometimes cause serious injuries, such as head injuries, which can be prevented by closely observing the person for 15 minutes after vaccination.
For the serious effects, the numbers tell a different story from Norma’s.
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil® . GBS is a rare neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections have been associated with GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil® increases the rate of GBS above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.
- Blood Clots There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil®. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.
- Deaths As of September 15, 2011, there have been a total 71 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil®. There were 57 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty four of the total death reports have been confirmed and 37 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 34 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination.
An important note about the VAERS system is that it accepts reports from both health care providers, parents, and others. I think it is a fair question to ask how many of the adverse effects, especially the serious ones, are sent in by people who are anti-vaccine to begin with.
The latest numbers on the prevalence of HPV in the US are from 2010:
The overall HPV prevalence of high- and low-risk types was 42.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 40.3–44.7) among U.S. females aged 14–59 years.HPV vaccine-preventable types 6 or 11 (low-risk types) or 16 or 18 (high-risk types) were detected in 8.8% of female participants: HPV-6 in 2.8% (95% CI: 2.2–3.6), HPV-11 in 0.3% (95% CI: 0.2–0.7), HPV-16 in 4.7% (95% CI: 4.0–5.5), and HPV-18 in 1.9% (95% CI: 1.4–2.5).
The incidence of cancers related to HPV is not trivial.
Persistent HPV infections are now recognized as the cause of essentially all cervical cancers, as well as most cases of anal cancer. In 2011, more than 12,000 women in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 are expected to die from it . Cervical cancer is diagnosed in nearly half a million women each year worldwide, claiming a quarter of a million lives annually.
Although anal cancer is uncommon, more than 5,000 men and women in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2011, and 770 people are expected die from it .
Genital HPV infection also causes some cancers of the vulva, vagina, and penis (3). In addition, oral HPV infection causes some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle part of the throat, including the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils).
It has been estimated that HPV infection accounts for approximately 5 percent of all cancers worldwide.
These are the numbers that need to be publicized. What we call cancer is many diseases and in many cases there is no definitive causality. With HPV we have that causality and in Gardasil and other vaccines, we have a preventative weapon. The anti-vaccine crowd spreads fear, uncertainty, and doubt that undermines that effort.