October 26, 2009

Possible Dystonia (Rare Neurological Condition) After Flu Shot

Desiree Jennings, a former Redskins cheerleader, received a seasonal flu shot on Aug 23, 2009 and has suffered from a possible dystonia reaction from the flu vaccination resulting in difficulties in eating, talking, and walking.

Here is a link to a video where Dr. Stephen Grill (neurologist) is interviewed by Fox News regarding Desiree's condition.

Here is a video/article of the initial story.

This story is a case of a VERY unfortunate EXTREMELY rare side effect (if true) of the flu vaccine. People should still get the flu vaccine, but be aware that it is not 100% benign in all cases.

However, it seems that Desiree's flu shot reaction may have been psychogenic (and not a true side effect of the vaccine at all). Read this blog article which goes into this in more detail.

Regardless, people have developed rare neurological conditions called laryngeal dystonia otherwise known more commonly as spasmodic dysphonia. The way Desiree talks (from what I can hear from the videos) is distinctly different from patients who suffer from classic spasmodic dysphonia. Click here to hear what laryngeal dystonia/spasmodic dysphonia sounds like.

(Of note, I received both the seasonal and the H1N1 vaccine and have encouraged all my friends, family, and patients who inquire to do so as well.)
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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