Hundreds Of Girls Struck With Mystery Illness; Possibly Linked To Merck & Co. (MRK)'s Gardasil
8/28/2014 6:32:30 AM
Hundreds Of Girls Struck With Mystery Illness; Possibly Linked To Merck & Co., Inc.'s Gardasil
August 28, 2014
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Over 200 girls in the Colombian town of El Carmen de Bolivar have been hospitalized for a range of symptoms from fainting and headaches, to numbness in the hands. Some parents suspect the cause is the vaccine Gardasil®, which is used to prevent Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, which can cause cervical cancer. None of the symptoms were life threatening and all the children have been released from the hospital. The girls were all between the ages of 9 and 16.
Gardasil, manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co., Inc.
(MRK), protects against four types of HPV infection, types 6, 11, 16, and 18. Types 16 and 18 are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancer and for most HPV-induced cancers of the anus, vulvar, vagina and penis.
El Carmen de Bolivar has about 95,000 residents and is located near the Caribbean coast. The city’s mayor, who is also a trained physician, told The Associated Press that they first saw symptoms at the end of May, with increased incidents ever since. Residents of the town conducted a peaceful march Wednesday, August 27 to demand an investigation. National health and toxicology experts have visited El Carmen de Bolivar to collect blood samples and investigate possible environmental sources for the symptoms. To-date there has been no evidence linking the Gardasil vaccinations to the symptoms.
The Colombian Health Minister, Alejandro Gaviria, pointed out that about 2.9 million women in Colombia have received the vaccine with no ill effects. On a W Radio broadcast, he stated, “On one side we have the weight of scientific evidence and on the other are opinions and moral prejudices.”
The head of Merck communications in Latin America, Veronica Trulin, stated that all lots of Gardicil met the required quality and safety standards, but declined to speculate about the company’s products.apparently because the vaccines are given primarily to young girls and because HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. Both vaccines came on the market at a period in which there was considerable public concern over the now-disproven links between autism and vaccines.
Gardacil and a similar vaccine, Cervarix®, developed and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, are both noted as being the first anti-cancer vaccines. Both have caused some controversy, apparently because the vaccines are given primarily to young girls and because HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. Both vaccines came on the market at a period in which there was considerable public concern over the now-disproven links between autism and vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the HPV vaccines, but does point out that between June 2006 and March 2014, “approximately 67 million doses of HPV vaccines were distributed and VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) received approximately 25,000 adverse event reports occurring in girls and women who received HPV vaccines; 92% were classified as ‘non-serious.'"
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