A Florida mom says that her previously healthy daughter is now paralyzed and bedridden after being given a routine flu shot. Carla Grivna told WTSP that her daughter cannot walk anymore and she has lost most of her vocabulary. She blames the flu shot, WTSP reported, because her daughter was paralyzed after a flu shot caused a rare viral infection of the brain known as Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM).
ADEM is described on the Transverse Myelitis Association’s website.
“ADEM is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own brain tissue, triggered by an environmental stimulus in genetically susceptible individuals. More often it is believed to be triggered by a response to an infection or to a vaccination. For this reason, ADEM is sometimes referred to as post-infectious or post-immunization acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.”
“She (used to) love school, she was running, playing [singing] in the church choir,” Grivna said in an interview.
She added that her daughter, Marysue, was 9-years-old when she became sick with ADEM just four days after getting an annual flu shot last November.
“It can just appear out of the blue or after maybe a surgical procedure,” Dr. Juan Dumois, director of infectious diseases at All Children’s Hospital, explained of ADEM, adding that it is similar to multiple sclerosis, another autoimmune disease. “It’s otherwise unexplainable.”
Dumois said that there is currently no way to predict or prevent the autoimmune disease which caused Marysue to become paralyzed and lose her vocabulary after the flu shot. Dumois claims that a person is more likely to suffer from this form of paralysis from getting the flu than from getting the flu shot. Dumois claims that the incidence of this form of paralysis is only about eight in every one million people each year.
Mom: Daughter paralyzed because of flu shot http://t.co/DtAZbd3Jpr via @WTSP10News 8 in a million isn’t such great odds if you’re one of 8!
— KathiMattea (@Wonderwon) November 2, 2014
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which also says that ADEM is almost always sudden but not long lasting, this form of paralysis is more common in boys than it is in girls and more common in children than in adults. Girls are less likely to recover, the website states. More than 80 percent of all cases of this form of paralysis and myelitis occur in children under 10-years-old.
A fundraising campaign has been set up for Marysue on GoFundMe called “Help build My Room After A.D.E.M.” and the family also requires funds to help with transportation needs. You can follow Marysue’s story after being paralyzed from the flu shot on a Facebook page set up for her.
[Photos from GoFundMe and Facebook]