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Personal Injury & Vaccine Injury Lawyers > Blog > Vaccine Injury > ADEM And Your Legal Rights: When You Can Recover If ADEM Is Associated With A Vaccine

ADEM And Your Legal Rights: When You Can Recover If ADEM Is Associated With A Vaccine


Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (commonly known as “ADEM”) is generally described as a short but serious bout of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin (the nerve fibers’ protective covering). The effects of ADEM can range from mild to debilitating for those afflicted.

Symptoms of ADEM can include but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of vision
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Coma (in severe cases)

Since many ADEM symptoms can correlate with other illnesses, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is often difficult at first. Many doctors may incorrectly diagnose ADEM as the onset of Multiple Sclerosis, at first, based on damage to the brain’s white matter. However, ADEM is distinguished from MS by its rapid onset and widespread attack on myelin. Another difference is often acute fever when it first strikes, and a recent exposure to infection or immunization. There is no standard treatment for ADEM, but many physicians will use approaches such as immunotherapy to prevent further myelin damage and restore the body’s nerve fibers.

Just as the effects can vary greatly in patients, so can the outcomes. About 60 to 90 percent of ADEM patients recover fully within 4 to 6 weeks of the onset of illness. Others may take longer to recover, or experience lasting physical damage or neurological deficits. Those with long-term symptoms can experience residual weakness, sensory problems, headaches, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and cognitive or behavioral issues. These effects can interfere with a person’s ability to work, undertake daily physical activities, and enjoy the quality of life they had previously.

What Causes ADEM?

In over 75% of cases, ADEM is associated with an infection or immunization (vaccination) where the timing of the exposure is associated with the onset of neurological disease or impairment. Post-vaccination ADEM has been associated with several vaccines over the years, including:

  • Influenza
  • DTP (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio)
  • Smallpox
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Pertussis
  • Hepatitis B

While it may be difficult to prove conclusively in each individual case, the association between vaccination administration and the onset of ADEM has been frequent enough to warrant coverage under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. When pursuing a vaccine injury claim, a patient does not necessarily have to prove beyond a doubt that the vaccine caused their illness. If they can establish a connection, they may be legally entitled compensation and even attorney’s fees through the VICP.

Because vaccine injury claims are handled through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, patients suffering from the effects of ADEM should consult a Philadelphia Vaccine Injury Attorney that has knowledge of vaccine injury procedures

The Vaccine Injury Attorneys at Green & Schafle Can Help if You or a Loved One Have Suffered Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (“ADEM”) After Receiving a Vaccine

ADEM is a unique and potentially severe condition that can lead to long lasting and debilitating effects for its recipients. People suffering with ADEM may experience long term pain, changes in vision, weakness, and other issues that affect their abilities to go to work or live their daily lives. If you or a loved one has received an ADEM diagnosis after a vaccine and want to know more about your rights involved, call our vaccine injury lawyers at Green & Schafle today to learn more about your options.



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