Autism Case Involving Mercury In Vaccines Heard By Federal Court – Childhood Vaccinations Caused Mental Problems in Children
(Best Syndication) Plaintiffs in nearly 4,800 cases are watching nine test cases brought before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims concerning a link between autism and mercury in childhood vaccinations. Many experts say that there is no link, but some parents and watchdog groups claim otherwise.
Since the diagnosis of autism is made around the time of childhood vaccinations, a suggested link between the two was made. Cases of autism have been on the rise and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that 1 in 150 eight year old children suffer from the condition. Since earlier numbers indicated that one in several thousand children had the condition, the disease represents an epidemic.
It is unclear whether there are more cases of autism or both reporting and the loosening of the definition of the disease has just made it appear that way. Many parents and some politicians and activist groups say there is a connection, and the special claims court in Washington DC will try to sort this out.
Many vaccines used a preservative called thimerosal which contained mercury. In 1999 the Federal Government asked vaccine makers to remove the substance. In 2001 no vaccines (except some flu vaccines) routinely recommended for children under age 6 contained thimerosal. According to one report, autism rates do not appear to be dropping.
The first week of hearings involved the case of a tragically ill Arizona girl. An Irish laboratory found measles virus in her GI tract and spinal fluid. On Monday, a heavy metals toxicologist named H. Vasken Aposhian presented a theory of how thimerosal could have damaged the girl's immune system setting her up for autism.
The plaintiff believes that the measles virus combined with a weakened immune system caused a persistent infection. The resulting inflammation may have caused brain damage and other injuries.
There was a fund set up in 1988 to aid patients who fell ill from vaccination. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The fund collects 75 cents from each vaccination as an excise tax. As of January 31, 2007, the Trust Fund balance was nearly $2.5 billion.
Although the nine test cases may be finished up before Christmas, the decisions may not be reached until next year.
By Jeffrey Workman
Best Syndication News Health Writer