A sudden and sharp increase in the number of multiple sclerosis (MS) cases diagnosed in France back in the mid-1990s appears to have its roots in a mass vaccination campaign for hepatitis B that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to new epidemiological data published in the journal Immunologic Research.
In accordance with WHO recommendations, France implemented a campaign in 1992 promoting hepatitis B vaccines, for which 20 million French adults -- or roughly one-third of the country -- agreed to be vaccinated between the years of 1994 and 1997. By 1998, however, massive spikes in MS cases began to dominate headlines in the French media.
Prior to 1993, when the hepatitis B vaccine campaign first began, there were about 2,500 new cases of MS in France annually. Immediately after the campaign was launched, and especially after 1996, that number nearly doubled to 4,500 new MS cases per year. The most obvious cause, according to many health experts, was the vaccine.
Immediately following this revelation, vaccination rates plummeted in France and suspicions about how the hepatitis B vaccine might be triggering MS began to emerge. One hypothesis suggested that a protein in the vaccine might be very similar to a protein naturally found in myelin, the protective coating around nerve fibers that is attacked by the immune system in MS sufferers.
Since that time, multiple research projects have aimed to better understand the correlation between hepatitis B vaccines and MS. One French study found that the actual number of MS cases linked to hepatitis B vaccines is 2.5 times higher than previously assumed, while another case-controlled epidemiological study observed a definitive increased risk of MS within three years following vaccination.
These studies and others were included in the latest review, which confirmed a "significant correlation" between hepatitis B vaccines and MS cases. A graph featured in the study shows a massive spike in MS cases in 1996, which directly matches the 2-3-year period following vaccination that previous studies had found was when most MS cases would likely emerge due to the vaccine.
"The positive and statistically significant correlation between HB vaccine exposure and reported MS incidence is consistently observed in different places, circumstances, and times," wrote the authors. "The figures available in France thus show a definite statistical signal in favor of a causal link between the HB vaccine event and the apparition of MS with a maximum correlation in the 2 years following immunization."
Based on the compelling findings of this study, its authors were bold enough to declare the hepatitis B vaccine campaign a "large scale experiment" on the French people, and one that very clearly had dire consequences. MS isn't a disease to mess with, and those who suffer from it will be the first to tell you how excruciating it is to deal with on a daily basis.
With this in mind, it is absolutely vital to carefully consider the risks involved when getting your child vaccinated, or when getting vaccinated yourself. Should the hepatitis B vaccine happen to trigger an autoimmune response by which your immune system starts attacking your central nervous system, there's no going back.
"As of March 2012, there was a total of 66,654 hepatitis B vaccine-related adverse events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including reports of headache, irritability, extreme fatigue, brain inflammation, convulsions, rheumatoid arthritis, optic neuritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) and neuropathy," explains the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) about the risks associated with this deadly vaccine.