girl lost nearly all of her vision within 10 days of receiving the second
course of her vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), reports a
case study in the Journal of Child Neurology.
HPV vaccine is designed to prevent infection by the strains of the virus
that are responsible for the majority of cervical cancer and genital warts
The study recounts the case of a previously healthy teenage girl who developed
a headache on the left side of her head and began to lose vision in her
right eye eight days after receiving her second HPV vaccine shot. Over the
course of the following 48 hours, the pain spread across her head and she
began to lose sight in her left eye as well.
point, the girl went to the emergency room, where doctors found her vital
signs to be normal with no indication of infection or systemic illness.
While under supervision, her vision continued to deteriorate until she was
able to identify light and movement only from the left eye, and then only
inconsistently. She reported no symptoms prior to the onset of headache
and vision loss and had not experienced any recent disease or trauma.
examination revealed demyelination in her brain and along her optic nerves.
In demyelination, characteristic of multiple sclerosis and similar diseases,
the protective myelin sheath around nerve cells degrades, leading to interrupted
months after her initial visit, the teenager had recovered from her weakness
but her vision had not improved.
the HPV vaccine is widely promoted for teenage girls, its safety and effectiveness
have primarily been tested in women over the age of 18. No evidence yet
exists that vaccination reduces rates of genital warts or cervical cancer,
or deaths from cervical cancer.
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