Why is Childhood Arthritis On The Rise?

More children are suffering from arthritis than ever before. Unpublished data released June, 2007 from a study conducted jointly by the American College of Rheumatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics states nearly 300,000 children in the United States have significant arthritis. Dr. Brian Feldman, chief of the arthritis program at the Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Center in Toronto states that this number is “probably an underestimate.” The study did not include thousands of children who suffer with painful joints but have not yet been diagnosed with disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. An Australian study confirms that the rate of childhood arthritis is four to six times higher than rates typically quoted.(1)

Physicians are taught about 20 percent of children who are diagnosed with arthritis go on to develop chronic disease. However, new research suggests that the percentage is much greater than previously thought. Even when the acute painful episode subsides or goes into remission, relapses often occur. In a study of children who had arthritis isolated to one joint, called oligoarticular arthritis, 60 percent went into remission. Of those, nearly 40 percent had reoccurrences.(2)

Despite assurances by the Institute of Medicine and the FDA that vaccines are safe and have no association with arthritis, a review of medical literature suggests a different conclusion.

Arthritis and the Hepatitis b Vaccine

Reports of the association between the hepatitis b vaccine and arthritis have been documented since 1990. One mechanism proposes that severe arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may be triggered by the vaccine if the person has a genetic tendency toward an autoimmune disease and then is vaccinated.(3) Genetic predisposition cannot be determined in advance of the vaccine. In essence, this mechanism blames the bad outcome from the vaccine on the defective genetics of the recipient.

The hepatitis b vaccine has been recommended for newborns since 1991 and is generally administered within the first 48 hours of life. The value of this vaccination of should be questioned. For example, an Italian study touted a 46 percent reduction in the number of cases of hepatitis b in adults, attributed to the vaccination of children. This seems like a subtantial contribution to health. However, when the study is closely inspected, the significance of that percentage withers away. The number of acute hepatitis b infections decreased from 5.4 per one million persons to 2.9 per one million persons over eight years (between 1990 and 1998), a 46 percent reduction in disease. Can the elimination of a disease in one or two persons per million justify the vaccination of millions of babies? A similar study from France boasted that wide spread vaccination of hundreds of thousand 11 year-old adolescents could prevent 30 teens from contracting liver cancer as adults.(4) This is how experts justify universal vaccination of newborns.

The World Health Organization denies the association between hepatitis b vaccination and arthritis, claiming, “the medical literature is compriseg of mainly case reports, case series and a few case-control studies,” information that is considered to be marginally scientific. Unless the numbers of individuals are found to be “statistically significant” in proportion to the number of vaccines administered worldwide, clinically observed correlations between a vaccine and a vaccine injury are dismissed. The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) concluded in 2006 that there was “no convincing evidence to support an association between hepatitis B vaccination and rheumatoid arthritis.”(5) Making this conclusion by Committee is an easy way to negate all clinical evidence to the contrary, an easy way to dismiss the illness of an individual.

Arthritis and the Rubella Vaccine in the MMR

Acute arthritis following rubella vaccinations have been reported since 1972, the earliest use of the vaccine. All of the symptoms are lumped and called an arthropathy, defined as any abnormality of a joint. The term encompasses joint stiffness, arthralgia (subjective joint pain), and arthritis (joint pain that is accompanied by swelling, redness, heat, pain, and/or decreased range of motion.) Arthropathy after a rubella shot usually occurs within 10 to 28 days and tends to appear suddenly. The joints involved, in order of decreasing frequency, are fingers, knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, hips, and toes.(6) The rubella strain used in today’s rubella vaccine, strain RA27/3, reportedly causes post-vaccination joint symptoms in approximately 15% of recipients.(7)

While most reports of arthropathy after rubella vaccination have occurred in adult females, extremely painful joints have occurred in children, reported as two different syndromes. The “arm syndrome” causes severe pain in the arm and the hand, and tingling that is worse at night. The “catcher’s crouch” syndrome causes severe knee pain upon arising in the morning. Both can occur within two months after rubella vaccination. As an example, The Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism published a report in November, 2005 about eleven children who suffered recurrent episodes of catcher’s crouch after receiving a rubella vaccine.(8)

As stated by Dr. Feldman, “The whole idea that 80% of children [with arthritis] will have permanent remission is just wrong. Most of our patients will have arthritis well into adulthood.” Those with post-vaccination arthritis are more likely to require substantial drugs to control the progression of their disease, one that has no cure. While not every child has vaccine-induced arthritis, there is a strong possibility that many children can attribute their condition to the hepatitis b or rubella vaccine. Those children have become customers of the pharmaceutical industry for life as a result of vaccination.



(1) Childhood Arthritis Prevalence, Prognosis Eyed. Pediatric News. Volume 41, Issue 6, Page 36 (June 2007) http://www.pediatricnews.com/

(2) Ibid. Pediatric News. June, 2007.

(3) J Sibilia, J F Maillefert. Vaccination and rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2002;61:575-576.

(4) Ibid. J Sibilia

(5) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. “Hepatitis B vaccination and rheumatoid arthritis.” http://www.who.int/

(6) Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. The National Academies Press. (1991) p. 187.

(7) Viral arthritis. http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com/viral-arthritis.html

(8) Spruance, Spotswood, M.D Chronic arthropathy associated with rubella vaccination. Arthritis & Rheumatism. Volume 20, Issue 2, Pages 741 – 747. (Nov. 2005)

Source by Sherri Tenpenny, DO

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