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A link between the swine flu jab and child narcolepsy is cause for concern as a Finnish study concludes that children who have been vaccinated could be up to 17 times more likely to develop the disorder.
Children with narcolepsy suffer from episodes of extreme drowsiness, paralysis attacks and even fall asleep suddenly. In 2010 the number of children with the disorder increased prompting research into a possible link with the Pandremix vaccine, which was also used in the UK during the swine flu outbreak in two years ago.
A study published in the Public Library of Sciences One has shown that the number of children suffering from narcolepsy after being vaccinated is 17 times higher than it was previously, whilst the rates for adults remained the same.
Scientists studied the number of children diagnosed with the condition between 2002 and 2009, finding that only 0.31 children in every 100,000 individuals suffered from narcolepsy, whilst after the H1N1 swine flu vaccinations in 2010 this rate had shot up to 5.6 in every 100,000.
Further research at the Helenski Sleep Clinic in Finland has looked into the effect of other vaccinations in children born between January 1991 and December 2005. Dr Markku Partinen, who led the study, found that the rates of narcolepsy in those who received vaccinations were 13 times higher than in those who did not.
This has led to suspicions that the vaccine itself is at least partly to blame for the increased number of narcolepsy diagnoses in children, although researchers also accept the possibility that external environmental factors are also a consideration.