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News1994May › Dpt vaccine: new brain damage › May 1994

Dpt vaccine: new brain damage

Yet another side effect has been linked to the diptheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccine for children

Yet another side effect has been linked to the diptheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccine for children. Researchers are concerned that children can develop chronic brain dysfunction or even die if they develop an acute neurological illness within se

This new worry, voiced by the US Institute of Medicine, is based on a review of 10 year follow-up data from the UK National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (NCES) (The Lancet, 12 March 1994).

The NCES data suggests that the vaccine could trigger an acute neurological illness in children with underlying brain or metabolic abnormalities. The institute in 1991 estimated that there have been up to 10.5 cases of the condition per million vaccinations in excess of the expected rate (The Lancet, 12 March 1994).

l A new, supposedly safer pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is becoming available in Britain, according to reports. The new vaccine, an acellular variety, is claimed to have fewer side effects. While one in three have reported harmful local reactions to the old vaccine, such as redness and swelling, these side effects have been reduced to 5 per cent of those receiving the new vaccine. It has been reported that only 1 per cent of those taking the new vaccine suffer fever afterwards, whereas upwards of half of all children have this reaction after taking the traditional vaccine.

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