Name Instructor Course Date Is H1N1 Associated with Narcolepsy among Children and Adolescents? Executive Summary Due to the upsurge of the cases of narcolepsy among children and adolescents during the outbreak of the pandemic H1N1 across European and Asian nations around 2009-2010, investigations regarding the possible connection between the vaccine Pandemrix and the increase of narcolepsy cases among countries that issued vaccination sessions among patients 19 years of age and below…
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China, an Asian country that also had the pandemic conducted similar studies, and acquired similar results, with most of the narcolepsy cases connected to numerous vaccinations done to young patients as well. All of the studies in the report were able to generate data that shows at least five to fifteen-fold increases in the narcolepsy cases around the year 2009 as compared to previous cases recorded in the last 10-15 years. Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that causes a person to suddenly and unexpectedly fall asleep. The disease is characterized by the sudden and unexpected onset of uncontrollable and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), drowsiness and grogginess in an individual, episode of muscle weakness (cataplexy), sleep paralyses and hallucinations resulting from rapid-eye movements (REM) and being unable to sleep during the night. It can be triggered either singly by genetic or environmental factors, or the combination of both. Problems may arise when a narcoleptic person suddenly falls asleep in the middle of doing daytime activities such as work or travel, and may cause fatalities if the disease is not taken care of immediately. Because narcolepsy itself is a very rare disease, occurring in roughly 1 out of every 100,000 persons within the world’s population, the sudden increase in the affected people and the recorded narcolepsy cases by up to 8.1 out of every 100,000 persons, as well as observing the occurrence of the phenomenon during the outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic around 2009-2010 caused panic and alarm regarding the use of the H1N1 vaccine Pandemrix, especially among younger children and adolescents. While the split, inactivated virion component of the vaccine was not directly involved in the increase of narcolepsy cases, the studies included in this report create a connection between the use of an oil-based adjuvant, AS03 in the manufacturing of the vaccine, and this may well have been the environmental trigger for the rise in narcolepsy cases among ages 19 years old and below. However, the studies also recommended further investigations regarding the use of AS03 in the medication, as well as the controlled use of Pandemrix among young individuals. Thus, the studies mentioned in this report all agreed in the suggested revising of the guidelines and the administration of the Pandemrix vaccine among adolescents and young children so as to prevent further additional cases of narcolepsy among the younger generation. Introduction The onset of the H1N1 pandemic during 2009 to 2010 has caused widespread panic among many individuals, especially among the developed and densely-populated countries. In order to protect all members of each country’s population against the fatal flu virus, H1N1 vaccines such as Pandemrix adjuvanted with AS03 was developed from inactivated H1N1 virion particles, and was later administered in order to prevent the progression of the disease and deaths, especially among young and elderly members of the population, as well as the severely immune-compromised (Nohynek 1). The vaccine became available to most countries around the globe around the last quarter of 2009, and was administered to nearly 39 million individuals within
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