CHP investigates limb weakness case with history of human swine influenza vaccination

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 8) received report about a 73-year-old woman with history of human swine influenza (HSI) vaccination being admitted to hospital for limb weakness.

     The patient developed numbness of her hands and feet on March 4. She later developed weakness of all four limbs and was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital on March 11.

     She is now in critical condition.  

     The woman had HSI vaccination at a public out-patient clinic on December 31, 2009, about nine weeks before onset of symptoms.

     A CHP spokesman said investigations were being carried out to ascertain the diagnosis, including that of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) and other neurological conditions.

     "CHP will closely monitor the clinical progress and further laboratory results of the patient.

     "Information about the case will be reviewed by the Expert Group in due course for determination of diagnosis and etiology," the spokesman said.

     Literature review shows that the majority of GBS cases that are temporarily associated with seasonal influenza vaccination occur between the second and the third week, with a median latency of 13 days.

     According to the World Health Organisation, global experience so far showed that HSI vaccination is not associated with increased incidence of GBS.

     A baseline number of such neurological conditions occur in Hong Kong every year, regardless of vaccination history. Some of the events are expected to occur coincidentally following HSI vaccination.

Ends/Thursday, April 8, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:21