Which vaccines can trigger Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)?
Your blood is made of a number of components. One component, platelets, is created in your bone marrow and they form clots which help to stop bleeding. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (or ITP) is an autoimmune condition characterized by low platelet counts as the condition causes your body's own immune system to attack those platelets.
The symptoms of ITP may include easy bleeding, excessive bruising (the "purpura" in the name), tiny red dots on the skin called petechiae, bleeding in urine or stool, unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, and feeling exceedingly tired or fatigued. ITP is diagnosed by first determining you have a low platelet count often staring with a "complete blood count" (or CBC), then by excluding other causes using
While scientists are still not sure what precisely causes it, ITP may happen after a viral or bacterial infection, after exposure to certain toxins, or it may be associated with another illness, such as lupus or HIV. Research has shown that ITP can also follow the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR). One study showed that ITP was caused by the MMR vaccine in 1-3 children for every 100,000 children vaccinated with MMR. Therefore, though ITP after MMR vaccination is extremely rare (between a .001% and .003% chance of occurring), the evidence suggests that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and ITP.
It is important to note that the underlying diseases are known to cause ITP, as well. In fact it is far more common with the diseases themselves, than with the vaccines for the diseases. Measles-induced ITP is common. Rubella is estimated to cause ITP in 1 out of every 3000 cases (that's a .03% chance). and it is known to occur with mumps. However, with these diseases, ITP would be the least harmful effect and would be the least of your worries should you contract any of these diseases. Therefore, vaccination is still the safest route by a large margin.
However, there is a compensation program - the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program or VICP - which exists to ensure that anyone injured by a vaccine is compensated for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. So, if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ITP after receiving an MMR vaccine, make sure you speak with a lawyer experienced with the VICP.