RealNews

Smallpox Vaccine Investigated for Any Link to Heart Attacks

Federal health officials said Tuesday that they are investigating whether the smallpox vaccine contributed to the heart attack of a Maryland health-care worker who died Sunday. They also are investigating the case of another vaccine recipient who suffered a heart attack and is on life support, as well as cardiac problems among five other health-care workers who volunteered for the government’s smallpox vaccination program. Medical experts do not believe the vaccinations caused the heart attacks, said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it is possible that the vaccine, which is made of a live virus related to smallpox, caused some inflammation that in turn worsened preexisting health conditions, she said. “As a precautionary measure,” Gerberding said, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson decided Tuesday that, for now, individuals with a history of heart disease should not be vaccinated against smallpox. Full Story

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