The spectrum of post-vaccination inflammatory CNS demyelinating syndromes.
Autoimmun Rev. 2014 Mar ;13(3):215-24. PMID: 24514081
A wide variety of inflammatory diseases temporally associated with the administration of various vaccines, has been reported in the literature. A PubMed search from 1979 to 2013 revealed seventy one (71) documented cases. The most commonly reported vaccinations that were associated with CNS demyelinating diseases included influenza (21 cases), human papilloma virus (HPV) (9 cases), hepatitis A or B (8 cases), rabies (5 cases), measles (5 cases), rubella (5 cases), yellow fever (3 cases), anthrax (2 cases),meningococcus (2 cases) and tetanus (2 cases). The vast majority of post-vaccination CNS demyelinating syndromes, are related to influenza vaccination and this could be attributed to the high percentage of the population that received the vaccine during the HI1N1 epidemia from 2009 to 2012. Usually the symptoms of the CNS demyelinating syndrome appear few days following the immunization (mean: 14.2 days) but there are cases where the clinical presentation was delayed (more than 3 weeks or even up to 5 months post-vaccination) (approximately a third of all the reported cases). In terms of the clinical presentation and the affected CNS areas, there is a great diversity among the reported cases of post-vaccination acute demyelinating syndromes. Optic neuritis was the prominent clinical presentation in 38 cases, multifocal disseminated demyelination in 30, myelitis in 24 and encephalitis in 17. Interestingly in a rather high proportion of the patients (and especially following influenza and human papiloma virus vaccination-HPV) the dominant localizations of demyelination were the optic nerves and the myelon, presenting as optic neuritis and myelitis (with or without additional manifestations of ADEM), reminiscent to neuromyelitic optica (or, more generally, the NMO-spectrum of diseases). Seven patients suffered an NMO-like disease following HPV and we had two similar cases in our Center. One patient with post-vaccination ADEM, subsequently developed NMO. Overall, the risk of a demyelinating CNS disease following vaccination, although non-negligible, is relatively low. The risk of onset or relapse of CNS demyelination following infections against which the vaccines are aimed to protect, is substantially higher and the benefits of vaccinations surpass the potential risks of CNS inflammation. This does not in any way exempt us from“learning” the lessons taught by the reported cases and searching new and safer ways to improve vaccination techniques and increase their safety profile.