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MMR parents sue after children develop brain damage
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The MMR vaccine can cause permanent damage - but it's nothing to with autism - and now three families are suing their lawyers in order to prove it

The MMR vaccine can cause permanent damage - but it's nothing to with autism - and now three families are suing their lawyers in order to prove it.
The parents claim the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine has caused encephalitis - inflammation of the brain, with the potential to cause epilepsy and deafness - in their children.
But their claims were lumped in with around a thousand cases from other parents who believed the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children. The class action was dropped in 2003 after Andrew Wakefield's research - suggesting an association - was discredited.
The parents are suing the law firm Irwin Mitchell that in 2006 merged with Alexander Harris, the original firm that had led the action. They believe they had a strong case for compensation, but, because they were included in the autism action, they have now passed the 10-year window during which claims can be made.
The children were given the old Urabe mumps vaccine, which was withdrawn in the UK only in 1992, four years after it had been associated with aseptic meningitis. In 2002, the chairman of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, Alasdair Breckenridge, said: "There is sound evidence that mumps vaccine containing the Urabe strain of virus is associated with a risk of meningitis and has no proven additional benefits. The risk to children of a potentially serious neurological complication makes its use unacceptable."
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2011; 343: d5867).


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