Narcolepsy linked to H1N1, not its vaccine

According to a Stanford University study, infections of the upper airway like the H1N1 virus responsible for the swine flu pandemic may trigger the onset of the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
Recent reports had suggested that one of the H1N1 vaccines, Pandemrix, may lead to narcolepsy – a neurological disease characterized by irregular nighttime sleep, drowsiness and a sudden loss of muscle strength and tone. The latest research from Stanford University's School of Medicine, however, indicates that it may be the infection of the airways that triggers the disease, rather than the vaccine, Net Doctor reports.
The research team, led by narcolepsy expert Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, found that a peak in narcolepsy cases in China occurred five to seven months after a peak in H1N1 and other upper airway infections. The team found no link between vaccination and narcolepsy among these patients.
"Together with recent findings, these results strongly suggest that winter airway infections such as influenza A (including H1N1) and/or Streptococcus pyogenes are triggers for narcolepsy," Mignot said, according to Net Doctor. "The new finding of an association with infection, and not vaccination, is important as it suggests that limiting vaccination because of a fear of narcolepsy could actually increase overall risk."
The European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recently confirmed that despite some concerns about reported cases of narcolepsy among under-20 in a small number of European countries, the overall benefit-risk balance for Pandemrix remained positive.