A 10-year-old girl in Florida has been paralyzed for almost a year with a rare inflammation of the brain and her family is blaming a flu vaccine.
According to Carla Grivna, her daughter Marysue was living a perfectly healthy and happy life until last year.
‘She (used to) love school, she was running, playing, singing in the church choir,’ Grivna told WTSP.
In November 2013, Grivna took Marysue for her seasonal flu shot. She was healthy for the next couple of days, playing freeze tag with friends a few days before Thanksgiving.
The next day, Grivna found her daughter paralyzed in her bed, able to open her eyes but unable to move her body or speak.
Grivna and her husband called an ambulance, and at the hospital received a sobering diagnosis – Marysue had a rare infection of the brain called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM.
Almost a year later, Marysue still cannot speak and must be carried to the bathroom by her father.
Most of her day is spent in a hospital bed, which is kept in the Grivnas’ living room because it is too big to fit in her bedroom, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the family.
Now the Grivnas are saying ‘the doctors won’t confirm it or deny it,’ but they believe the flu shot was to blame.
‘Her father Steven and I are certain,’ she told Fox News, ‘due to all of our research, that this was what caused Marysue’s condition.’
Research by the National Institutes of Health found that in five percent of ADEM cases, the patient had received a vaccine in the month before symptoms started.
In 2008, a 75-year-old woman developed ADEM two days after being vaccinated against influenza, eventually experiencing numbness and paralysis, before dying shortly afterwards.
However, doctors do not recommend against the vaccine, as researchers report a much higher percentage of ADEM cases are preceded by infection than their respective vaccines.
‘If I get the flu I’m far more likely to get ADEM than from the flu vaccine,’ said Dr Juan Dumois, director of infectious diseases at All Children’s Hospital.
Recovery is possible, according to Dr Dumois, but after six months the chances of getting better drop significantly.
The family is currently trying to raise money in order to renovate Marysue’s room to make it more accessible, and have raised just under $3,000 in 11 days.