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Swine Flu Vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Health chiefs have for the first time acknowledged that the swine flu jab may be linked to an increased risk of developing a deadly nerve condition.

Experts are examining a possible association between the controversial jab and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, according to a report from official watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Previously, the Government has always stressed there is no evidence to link the paralysing condition to the H1N1 vaccine.

After The Mail on Sunday revealed in August 2009 that doctors were being asked to monitor cases of GBS during the swine flu pandemic, a letter from the Health Protection Agency’s chief executive Justin McCracken stated: ‘There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of GBS from the vaccines being developed to fight the current pandemic.’

Now the MHRA’s newly published report suggests the Government’s position has changed.

It says: ‘Given the uncertainties in the available information and as with seasonal flu vaccines, a slightly elevated risk of GBS following H1N1 vaccines cannot be ruled out. Epidemiological studies are ongoing to further assess this possible association.’

It is not known precisely what causes GBS but the condition attacks the lining of the nerves, leaving them unable to transmit signals to muscles effectively.

It can cause partial paralysis and mostly affects the hands and feet – but it can be fatal.

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