18-Year Study Examines Miller-Fisher Syndrome After Vaccination

A recent study published in Muscle & Nerve created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Food and Drug Administration examined the prevalence of Miller-Fisher syndrome (MFS) occurring after vaccination in the United States.

According to the study’s introduction, “Miller–Fisher syndrome (MFS) can occur after vaccination in the United States and is included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).”

The abstract for this study was published in the 2019 American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Abstract Guide, which was presented at the 2019 AANEM Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas this October. AANEM member Dr. Nizar Souayah was an author on this study.

“Using data from the VAERS database for over 1999-2017, we identified cases of MFS and characterized their temporal relationship with different vaccinations. The initial 6 weeks after vaccination were defined as the risk period for possible cause– effect between vaccination and MFS, while the subsequent 6 weeks were defined as the control period. Only case-centered analysis was utilized,” the authors wrote.

There were apparently 87 MFS cases reported following influenza, hepatitis AB, and HPV 4 vaccinations from 1999 to 2017. Of these, 76% were reported within 6 weeks after vaccination, and 24% in the first two weeks.

These results allowed the authors to conclude that while they did not see an increase in MFS after vaccination compared to the general population, “the unbalanced distribution of cases within the first 6 weeks is unlikely to be coincidental.”

Given that the majority of MFS cases were reported within the 6-week risk period, however, the results “warrant the implementation of active surveillance and careful evaluation of patients with signs and symptoms of MFS after vaccination,” according to the authors.

To view the 2019 AANEM Abstract Guide, visit https://www.aanem.org/AANEMNew/media/AANEM/Documents/Meetings/2019-Abstracts.pdf.

About American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM)

Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The organization and its members work to improve the quality of patient care and advance the science of NM diseases and EDX medicine by serving physicians and allied health professionals who care for those with muscle and nerve disorders.

For more information about AANEM, visit aanem.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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