Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) And Vaccine Injuries – What To Know About The Causes And Your Legal Rights
Immune thrombocytopenia – or “ITP” – is a blood disorder resulting from low levels of platelets that help the blood clot. Without proper platelet levels, ITP patients can experience excessive bruising and bleeding, and other symptoms. Usually, ITP occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys blood platelets – the cell fragments that help blood clot normally. When ITP does occur, unexplained bruises and small reddish-purple dots may appear on the skin.
Other symptoms of ITP can include:
- Bloody nose
- Bleeding in mouth or gums
- Bloody stool, vomit, or urine
- Unusually heavy menstrual flow
There are two general types of ITP:
- Acute thrombocytopenic purpura. This form – which is the most common – usually affects young children between 2-6 years old, and can follow a viral illness such as chickenpox. Acute ITP usually starts suddenly, but the symptoms usually cease within a few weeks or months. Treatment is usually not required, and acute ITP does nor recur in patients.
- Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura. This form can occur at any age, with symptoms lasting for months or even indefinitely. Chronic ITP affects adults more than children, and women more than men. Chronic ITP has a strong likelihood of recurrence and usually requires follow-up care with blood specialists.
What Causes Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)?
When the immune system is triggered to attack its own platelets, ITP is an autoimmune reaction that can have a variety of causes:
- Medications causing an allergy that cross-reacts with platelets
- Viral infections such as chicken pox, hepatitis, and HIV
- Immune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Lymphoma or Leukemia
- Vaccine administration
While vaccines are generally safe, a noteworthy connection has been established between vaccine administration and ITP in some cases. Researchers believe that vaccines can lead to ITP by “molecular mimicry, epitope spreading, and polyclonal activation”. Vaccines that have been associated with ITP include those for measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), influenza, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), varicella-zoster, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTap), polio, and pneumococcus. In young children, studies have found a higher than expected rate of ITP after the MMR vaccine.
Generally, the time from vaccine exposure to ITP symptoms can take up to six weeks or longer. ITP secondary to a vaccine can be mild to severe, and will require medical treatment in severe cases. Whether ITP is mild, moderate, or severe, it can affect a person’s daily life, including their ability to work or carry on with daily activities. There can also be substantial emotional pain and suffering for those that experience ITP following a vaccination.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) recognizes ITP as a vaccine injury in many cases. If you or a family member believes you have suffered ITP following a vaccination dose, you could have important legal rights – including the right to fair compensation. An experienced Philadelphia vaccine injury attorney can review all details of your claim and pursue it through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which handles vaccine injury cases.
The Vaccine Injury Attorneys at Green & Schafle Can Help if You or a Loved One Have Suffered Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) Related to a Vaccine
ITP is a rare but serious condition that can affect the quality of life for its patients. Sadly, ITP can also strike children after they receive a routine immunization dose. If you or a loved one has suffered immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in the weeks or months following a vaccine and want to know more about your rights, call our vaccine injury attorneys at Green & Schafle today to discuss your options.