Study shows no risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome after vaccination

A study released by Kaiser Permanente on Monday showed that patients are not at an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome in the six-week period after they receive a vaccination.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disease that is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. The disease causes the destruction of the nerve's myelin sheath and peripheral nerves.

A 1976 study linked Guillain-Barré syndrome with the influenza vaccine. Most published cases of the disease, however, are preceded within three months by a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection.

The study was done by researchers over a 13 year span, from 1994 to 2006, and was controlled to take into account the seasons. The full results are published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The researchers looked at 415 confirmed cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. In this group of people, only 25 patients were found to have received any vaccinations within the six weeks leading up to the onset of the disease. The researchers also discovered that 277 patients had a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness in the 90 days before the onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

"Previous studies of Guillain-Barré syndrome as a possible adverse event related to vaccines have been subject to confounding by differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals which may be unmeasured," Roger Baxter, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, said.