HPV Vaccination: No Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Scandinavian researchers have debunked reports that vaccination with human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with a risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) or other demyelinating diseases.

Scandinavian researchers have debunked reports that vaccination with human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with a risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) or other demyelinating diseases.

Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association Nikolai Scheller, MB, and colleagues looked at health records of nearly 4 million women and girls in Denmark and Sweden. Of the 789,082 who were vaccinated for HPV, during a follow-up period from 2006 to 2013, the team found 4,322 cases of MS and 3,300 of other demyelinating diseases. Of those only 73 MS cases and 90 cases of other demyelinating diseases occurred during the risk period—defined as 2 years after vaccination.

There have been case reports in medical literature suggesting the vaccine is linked to the nervous system diseases, concerns “fueled by social and news media reports,” Scheller wrote.

The suggested potential mechanisms by which vaccines could induce these autoimmune diseases have included molecular mimicry and bystander activation.

But in their cohort analysis the team found no increased risk of MS or of the other demyelinating diseases. Those diseases included optic neuritis, neuromyelitis optica, transverse myelitis, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

“These findings do not support concerns about a causal relationship between quadrivalent HPV vaccination and demyelinating disease", they wrote.

The authors work at the department of epidemiology research at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark, and at various departments of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

The study was partly supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.