Neuromyelitis Optica Vaccine Injuries

What is Neuromyelitis Optica?

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a central nervous system disorder that primarily affects the eye nerves (optic neuritis) and the spinal cord (myelitis). NMO is also known as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder or Devic’s disease.  It occurs when your body's immune system reacts against its own cells in the central nervous system, mainly in the optic nerves and spinal cord, or sometimes in the brain.

Photo by dra_schwartz/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by dra_schwartz/iStock / Getty Images

Neuromyelitis optica most often strikes during childhood, but also affects adults in their 40s and especially common in young women.  NMO can be confused with multiple sclerosis as the conditions do have some similar symptoms, but these are usually more severe in NMO. Vision problems with multiple sclerosis usually affect one eye at a time, while NMO may affect both eyes at the same time.

There are 2 types of NMO:

  • Relapsing form, which has periodic flare-ups, with some recovery in between. This is the more common kind, and women are far more likely to have this form than men.

  • Monophasic form, which involves a single attack that lasts a month or 2. Men and women get this type equally.

What are the symptoms of Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)?

These are possible symptoms of NMO:

  • Pain in the eyes

  • Loss of vision

  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs

  • Paralysis of the arms and legs

  • Difficulty controlling the bladder or bowels

  • Uncontrollable vomiting and hiccups 

What causes NMO?

With NMO, your immune system attacks a substance in your body called myelin — the insulation around your nerves. Specifically, the myelin cells in the spinal cord and optic nerves are attacked.  Environmental factors such as viruses and vaccines are known to cause inflammatory responses in the body that can trigger Neuromyelitis optica.

How is NMO diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may do a variety of tests if he or she suspects NMO including:

  • MRI scan of your brain and spinal cord

  • Tests to check on how well your optic nerves are working

  • Samples of your blood and spinal fluid to check for signs of the disease

What treatment is available for NMO?

Neuromyelitis optica is not curable, but there are effective treatments to reduce the symptoms, such as:

  • Corticosteroid drugs to halt the immune system’s effect on your nerves

  • Immunosuppressant drugs

  • A process called plasmapheresis, which removes proteins from the blood that may be playing a role in the condition

  • Other treatments to address symptoms such as pain and loss of bowel and bladder control

You may also need help to cope with blindness and paralysis after your condition hits a plateau.

Licensed Vaccine Attorney

At Green & Schafle LLC, we have skilled vaccine lawyers, licensed in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. who are ready to represent your interests.  

Our licensed vaccine attorneys have been representing vaccine-injured clients nationwide for the last decade and they are actively involved in the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association, the national organization dedicated to the representation of individuals with vaccine injuries.  

If you know someone with GBS from a vaccine, let us know so that a free legal consultation can be given to you or a loved one.

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