Overview:

The patient (who is also a physician) recently had this insight. She feels strongly it is a plausible explanation for her condition.

Background:

The patient had a Tdap vaccination at one week postpartum. At the time, she was very much still dealing with preclampsia and had lots of swelling and high BP. (She did not have her eclamptic seizure for another six weeks.) From the Tdap vaccination, she had an adverse reaction with a high fever and muscle aches.

Followup:

The consulting seizure specialist confirmed that she herself has seen over 100 cases of vaccination side-effects with seizures. These were mostly in children, but it is plausible that this condition is a result of a bad interaction with Tdap.

There are reported cases of pertussis encephalopathy associated with exposure to the pertussis bacteria (e.g. Halperin and Marrie 1991) and with the whole cell vaccine. In the adult case reported by Halperin and Marrie (1991) the seizures are preceded by coughing, a symptom also noted by our patient.

There is also evidence that the pertussis toxin causes neurological complications and can cross the blood-brain barrier (Kugler et al. 2007).

Questions:

Is it plausible that some combination of the preclampsia, weakened BBB, and the Tdap reaction triggered the seizure disorder and the chronic hypertension?

Could something connected to the vaccination have crossed the BBB?

Encephalopathy (with the older vaccine) would exhibit within 3-7 days of the vaccine. This seems to be consistent in the literature. What process would result in the first seizure weeks after the vaccine was administered?

If this is the result of the bacteria, how would a patient get an infection from an acellular vaccine?

Could these effects be a result of the pertussis toxin?

Would a detoxified dose of pertussis toxin have the same effects as toxin itself?

Are the ongoing seizures a result of a vaccine reaction triggering epilepsy?

Most sources state that recovery will happen, with or without treatment, after 12 weeks. Would any of these potential explanations result in a condition that persists for two years?

Action Plan:

We are researching the top specilists who deal with cases of rare complications from vaccinations.

In this case, the vaccination was made by Sanofi Pasteur. We are considering contacting them to find out who they work with clinically.

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