Preliminary results: surveillance for Guillain-Barré syndrome after receipt of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine - United States, 2009-2010.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Jun 04; 59(21):657-61.MM
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an uncommon peripheral neuropathy causing paralysis and in severe cases respiratory failure and death. GBS often follows an antecedent gastrointestinal or upper respiratory illness but, in rare cases, can follow vaccination. In 1976, vaccination against a novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus was associated with a statistically significant increased risk for GBS in the 42 days after vaccination (approximately 10 excess cases per 1 million vaccinations), a consideration in halting the vaccination program in the context of limited influenza virus transmission. To monitor influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine safety, several federal surveillance systems, including CDC's Emerging Infections Program (EIP), are being used. In October 2009, EIP began active surveillance to assess the risk for GBS after 2009 H1N1 vaccination. Preliminary results from an analysis in EIP comparing GBS patients hospitalized through March 31, 2010, who did and did not receive 2009 H1N1 vaccination showed an estimated age-adjusted rate ratio of 1.77 (GBS incidence of 1.92 per 100,000 person-years among vaccinated persons and 1.21 per 100,000 person-years among unvaccinated persons). If end-of-surveillance analysis confirms this finding, this would correspond to 0.8 excess cases of GBS per 1 million vaccinations, similar to that found in seasonal influenza vaccines. No other federal system to date has detected a statistically significant association between GBS and 2009 H1N1 vaccination. Surveillance and further analyses are ongoing. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine safety profile is similar to that for seasonal influenza vaccines, which have an excellent safety record. Vaccination remains the most effective method to prevent serious illness and death from 2009 H1N1 influenza infection; illness from the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has been associated with a hospitalization rate of 222 per 1 million and a death rate of 9.7 per 1 million population.