Autoinflammatory Syndromes Induced by Adjuvants: A Case for PFAPA

Autoinflammatory Syndromes Induced by Adjuvants: A Case for PFAPA
baby sleeping and thermometer
Only in the last few years has the scientific community began to formally recognize the role of adjuvants in inducing autoimmunity/inflammation.

If there was one lesson I learned from my painful struggle with FQ toxicity, it was to be vigilant and informed about what goes into my body. I learned a great deal about the abundance of chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply. I became an advocate for organic food, natural products and a life with as few medications as possible. One thing I still failed to question, however, was the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Vaccine Side Effects: Learning the Hard Way

I’m a health psychologist, a teacher and researcher by trade. I have read about and believed in the public health benefits of vaccines since I became pregnant. After all, no matter your stance on the vaccine issue, no mother wants to see their child get severely ill from a preventable illness like measles. Having suffered tremendously in the early years of my child’s life with my own health issues, I wanted to make sure she was as healthy as possible, and I believed that vaccines were the best way to protect her health and her life, for that matter.

My daughter had her first fever of unknown origin at just 16 months old, shortly after a round of vaccinations. The fever reached 104 degrees and did not respond to Tylenol or Ibuprofen. She had no appetite and vomited when the fever would spike. I took her to our pediatrician and was told it was likely a virus. However, the doctor was perplexed as to why the fever was not coming down with fever reducing medication. We put her in tepid baths and held her for three days until the fever finally broke.

My daughter seemed to bounce back quickly and we believed the pediatrician’s diagnosis that she had somehow caught a virus that caused her high fever. When the same fever returned four weeks later, I took her back to the pediatrician for answers. This time, she presented with a red throat, but the rapid strep test was negative. We were sent home with a diagnosis of another virus. My daughter again recovered after 72 hours, but I was uncomfortable with the diagnosis. Something just did not seem right. We were told that kids that young often get viruses and we should expect up to 7-12 illnesses a year. However, my daughter was not in daycare, and I was notorious for washing hands. Where was she picking up these viruses? To my knowledge, she had not been exposed to anyone who had been sick.

Cyclic Fevers

Four weeks later my daughter spiked another high fever in the middle of the night, and would vomit when the fever would reach it’s highest, generally around 24 hours after it first began. Tylenol and Ibuprofen only took the fever down one or two degrees, but this time I knew what to expect. I took her to our pediatrician, and once again, my daughter presented with a red throat and a negative strep test. We were sent home yet again with a diagnosis of a virus, but I knew in my heart something more complicated was going on. The month before, I had become even more vigilant about hand washing, and would use hand sanitizing wipes whenever we went out. I kept her home and out of the public as much as possible, because I had a feeling that we might be dealing with an immune system issue.

Mystery Diagnosis: Periodic Fever, Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis, and Cervical Adenitis (PFAPA)

Given my training as a scientific researcher in the health field, the first place I went was the scientific literature. I typed “cyclical fever” into the Pubmed search engine. I came across this article and was introduced to a periodic fever syndrome called PFAPA (periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, and cervical adenitis). With PFAPA, children spike a high temperature every 2-8 weeks, usually with eerie periodicity, and often present with pharyngitis, swollen glands, and mouth sores. Fever reducers are usually ineffective. My daughter certainly had the high fever and the sore throat that seemed to come almost exactly four weeks apart.

I continued with my research, and read that PFAPA can present with a variety of combinations of the above named symptoms (and other possible symptoms such as joint pain and headaches), but the hallmark is the regularly occurring high fever. PFAPA is generally not harmful to a child’s growth or development, and children eventually grow out of it before their teen years. Regardless, it is still extremely difficult to watch your child suffer month after month for days at time. PFAPA children often miss up to 30 or more days of school a year; vacations and childhood activities are often interrupted by illness, and children can suffer distress over being chronically ill. Many PFAPA children also experience febrile seizures from temperatures consistently reaching 105 degrees or higher.

I called my pediatrician, who had heard of PFAPA but assured me that it was rare and not a cause for concern at the moment. He suggested taking a watchful waiting approach. I agreed, as I did not want to subject my daughter to unnecessary testing. But when the fever occurred again three and a half weeks later, I became more forceful in my request for additional testing. Periodic fevers can also be caused by serious syndromes including cyclic neutropenia and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and I wanted to know what we were dealing with so I could get her treatment as soon as possible. We were referred to an infectious disease specialist at our local Children’s hospital who was able to rule out those alternate diagnoses.

After meeting with my pediatrician, PFAPA literature in hand, I requested a referral to a pediatric ear, nose throat specialist (ENT). In my research I discovered the only known cure for PFAPA (besides the natural progression of “growing out of it”) was a tonsillectomy, which fully ceases attacks in about 80 percent of cases. Although there is still much unknown about the etiology of the disorder, scientists have found that during PFAPA flares, IL-1–related, and IFN-induced genes are overexpressed, and when the child is healthy, gene profiles look normal.

To put it simplistically, as an attack develops the body creates an inflammatory response  to a phantom infectious agent by retaining T-cells in the tonsil tissue. By removing the tonsils, there becomes no place for these cells to congregate and episodes abort. I was granted the referral to the best pediatric ENT in our region of the country. He was familiar with PFAPA and agreed to perform the tonsillectomy on my daughter at the tender age of just 27 months. At the time of her surgery, ten months after her first fever, she had experienced twelve PFAPA episodes. Since her surgery, I’m happy to report that my daughter has been PFAPA-free for one year.

Autoimmune/Autoinflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA)

Although I’m beyond grateful for her recovery, the story does not end there. I was still plagued with the “what caused this?” question. From my detailed and lengthy research, its seems doctors are still uncertain. What they do know is that unlike other periodic fever syndromes, there has not yet been a definitive gene identified for PFAPA, leaving much speculation to environmental causes. PFAPA is classified as an autoinflammatory disorder with the involvement of both innate and adaptive immunity. What could have caused her immune system to become so erratic?

My research revealed some possibilities. The first and most likely, in my opinion, was vaccinations.  It was once believed that adjuvants in vaccines, such as aluminum, were not harmful and caused no independent threat, but more recently, scientists have concluded that adjuvants can induce autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders in both human and animal models. In fact, adjuvants like aluminum are designed to create an inflammatory response in order to better facilitate the body’s production of antibodies to the antigen in the vaccine.

Only in the last few years has the scientific community began to formally recognize the role of adjuvants in inducing autoimmunity/inflammation. To date, a handful of syndromes have been identified as being associated with exposure to an adjuvant: siliconosis, the Gulf war syndrome (GWS), the macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome (MMF), and a less specific cluster of symptoms referred to as “post-vaccination phenomena”. PFAPA children show many of the clinical manifestations of ASIA post-vaccination phenomena, including fever, arthralgias, increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate, skin rashes, and sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Furthermore, PFAPA children would meet many of both the major and minor criteria for diagnosis of ASIA.

I am not arguing that PFAPA is likely induced by vaccines alone. I recognize that my daughter likely holds an unidentified genetic susceptibility to this syndrome. In fact, although not conclusive, new research is beginning to identify candidate genes for the syndrome. I do believe, however, that vaccines were the environmental trigger that likely caused the gene(s) expression to be altered. I am also not arguing that all cases of PFAPA are induced by vaccinations. Other environmental triggers in combination with genetic susceptibility such as illness, stress, trauma, allergies or other toxins may  play a role.

Vaccine Safety and Advocacy: Incompatible Arguments

As mentioned before, I had always supported vaccination programs and acknowledged them as a pillar of public health efforts. Since my daughter’s diagnosis, I feel discouraged and confused regarding vaccinations. I’m discouraged because it seems parents have no other options for immunization other than vaccinations that contain harmful adjuvants like aluminum. Although I recognize that my daughter may have had a genetic susceptibility for PFAPA, I have put together an evidence-based argument that her syndrome was triggered by her vaccinations. I have done so through careful research, collaboration with her physicians, and through the process of elimination of other causal factors.

My research has also convinced me that many children who suffer from autoimmune or autoinflammatory syndromes may have had healthy childhoods had they not been exposed to routine vaccinations. Unfortunately, medical science has not yet reached the point of being able to easily identify susceptible children and prevent this phenomenon from occurring.

With that being said, I still do not want to see my daughter suffer from something worse than PFAPA, including deadly diseases like meningitis. How can one argue for vaccine safety while still acknowledging the benefits of being protected by immunizations? In my experience: you can’t. They are incompatible arguments that create cognitive dissonance. You simply cannot say, “Vaccinations are a good thing, except they are not safe.” The minute you begin fighting for vaccine safety is the minute that you begin to be ousted by the medical community and anyone else that vaccinates their children, for that matter. You are immediately put into the category of “anti-vaxxer”, and people stop listening before your argument even begins. The backlash against those who question vaccine safety is quite biased, largely unwarranted and, in my opinion, offensive.

I am still unsure of how to proceed regarding my daughter’s remaining vaccinations. I have spoken with her physician about formulating a plan on what is best for her health at this time. By discontinuing her vaccinations, I run the (probably small) risk of exposing her to potentially dangerous diseases. If I choose to continue vaccinating her, I run the (probably large) risk of negating the effects of the surgery, which to date is the only known cure for PFAPA. I have heard several stories from parents of PFAPA children whose child’s fevers returned post-surgery after a round of booster immunizations. Apparently, in these cases, the body chooses another route for the inflammatory response after the tonsils are removed. Alas, the vaccine argument is not as black and white as many propose, and it is unfair and inaccurate to treat it as such.

Vaccine and Medication Side Effects: Neither Rare nor Insignificant

The vaccine manufacturers and even some scientists maintain that adjuvant-induced syndromes are rare. In contradiction, however, the literature also states that (like with fluoroquinolones) the manifestation of these syndromes can be delayed for weeks or even years after exposure to the adjuvant. Therefore, it is unlikely that we have any sort of accurate estimate of how many individuals have developed autoimmune or autoinflammatory syndromes caused by vaccinations. As one scientist states,

…this global view of ASIA probably represents only the tip of the iceberg. Encouraging physicians and patients to report adjuvant-related conditions will enable a better estimation of the true prevalence as well as the width of ASIA spectrum. It seems that the role of adjuvants in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases can no longer be ignored, and the medical community must look towards producing safer adjuvants…

Indeed, with the rise of complicated idiopathic illnesses occurring alongside the rise in prescription drug use and lengthened vaccination protocols in America, scientists and medical practitioners should be increasing their focus on pharmaceutical safety. Although this correlation does not imply causation (one could argue that the rise in prescription drug use is due to the rise in illness caused by other factors), causal relationships between adjuvants and these types of illnesses have already been demonstrated, warranting further investigation.

Many people, including children, are suffering tremendously with complex and painful syndromes while their causes continue to be ignored by the medical community despite overwhelming scientific evidence for their existence. Their suffering is viewed as rare, therefore insignificant. I’m left wondering, how can a child’s suffering ever be insignificant?

Note: This article was reprinted with the author’s permission. It was originally published at Hormones Matter.

14 Responses to "Autoinflammatory Syndromes Induced by Adjuvants: A Case for PFAPA"

  1. Lisa   August 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Proud anti-Vaxxer here. The argument is not protection from vaccines vs no protection. Even young children have a first response cellular immune defense. I promote long term breastfeeding to prolong passive disease resistance through childhood. After age 7 or so, healthy unvaccinated kids have a pretty good chance with cellular response alone. And with the addition of probiotics and T cell boosters (I won’t promote a product here but look into encapsulated mushroom precursors), you’ve got an EXCELLENT chance. If we were all as immunoimpaired as health “experts” make us out to be, we’d have every virus all year long. We don’t for good reason, and I haven’t even begun to get into inherent immunity yet….

  2. kapoore   August 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    It’s interesting how we mothers have to research every nook and cranny of the medical field to understand what happened to our child. I’m always interested in reading about a mother’s searches.

    My daughter is now 35 and has her own child. As an 80s baby she didn’t have as many vaccines as there are now. She took the DTP, but got whooping cough anyway. The big insult came with the MMR when she was four years old. She lost her coordination, got chronic tonsillitis, and in those days they didn’t take them out. Her speech became less fluent with more perseveration. She had dyslexia so her school years were full of tutors, and as I was a teacher I kept her afloat in school so she didn’t fall through the cracks. Her life, though, never got easier. I noticed that I was her executive function. She could get lost anywhere. Work hasn’t been any easier than school although she has a good job. It turned out she tested positive for antibodies against gluten, had anemia, skin rashes, ataxia, and the list goes on. She has two failed marriages, and is now a single mother.

    Finally, I found a syndrome that fit her: “Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome. When a certain part of the cerebellar is damaged it affects the links to the higher associative regions like problem solving, visual spacial, regulation of affect. Ataxia is the outward symptom and even gluten free she walks with her legs apart and her hands lack dexterity. So… she was vaccinated at four, and at 35 she could possibly get treatment. There are treatments using magnetic stimulation, physical therapy, and some medications. For me 30 years of illness does not compensate for the measles. In fact, maybe the measles went to her brain because she was already immune compromised. I’m an anti-vaxxer.

  3. Donna James   August 11, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    The pediatrician said to expect 7-12 illnesses per year?! How is that normal? My unvaccinated children haven’t had 7 illnesses that required medical attention between the two of them from birth to age 10 and 12!

  4. Marene Mayer   August 11, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    My son came down with “Scarlet Fever” after being Vaccinated at 12 months old. My Pediatrician informed me not to be alarmed by this – “it is common with so many Vaccines”……that was in 1978 – I never Vaccinated my Child again…..and he was healthier than every other child in school. To have this lady she had her child’s Tonsils removed is Very Disturbing to me. They Filter Toxins / Poisons in the body….and if they are not there – the poison’s / toxins go to other Lymph tissues. That is like removing the appendix – NOT a good Idea. If they are infected – indicates the Lymph system is under attack. I learned this early on – in my Nutritional Classes with B. Jensen, etc. Unfortunately my tonsils were removed at 28 yrs. old – due to Infection…..and then later the Appendix. You have to keep All your Lymph tissues for filtering.

  5. TeeJae   August 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

    “Encouraging physicians and patients to report adjuvant-related conditions will enable a better estimation of the true prevalence as well as the width of ASIA spectrum”

    Sure, in a perfect world. But in reality, patients won’t because they’ve come to expect the pushback they’ll get from their physicians. And/or the physicians themselves refuse to report for a variety of reasons. The whole system is messed up.

  6. Jim Garner   August 12, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I think we can still say that vaccination is valuable to the public’s well-being even if they are not as safe as they should be so long as it is possible for them to become safer. It would be possible, with proper government oversight, for vaccine manufacturers to keep toxic impurities out of their products. And it would be possible for vaccines to use safer adjuvants although it would mean smaller profits. I’m out of my league here, so the question that comes to my mind: would smaller profits for the vaccine industry allow them to remain economically viable? If not, can vaccine production be shifted away from the private sector?

  7. William Schmittmeyer   August 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Almost all illness is caused by vaccines,flouride,pesticide filled food,glyphosates sprayed on crops.Some of these illnesses occur decades later,others appear overnight.Vaccines give you immunity for 4-5 years that is why there are 69 doses of 16 vaccines until she 18 and then you are on your own.Why is this person who wrote this article so afraid of her children acquiring natural immunity which lasts a lifetime.When I was a kid my parents had measles parties to infect everyone in the neighborhood.No one ever dies from these childhood illnesses but they do strengthen yourbodies immunity to other illnesses.Vaccines in my opinion is a way to destroy your immune system so you will be helping doctors stay in business.The news media is owned by big pharmacy just look at the massive ad buys on tv.You will never be informed of shedding.Any live vaccines like shingles,whooping cough flu nasal spray etc sheds for 2 weeks after injection infecting those you come in contact with. Why do you think most pharmacy ads are now injections?? Big pharmacy since 1986 cannot be sued no matter how many they kill or maim.Ever listen to the horrendous side effects of these pharma ads.I think the Fluoride in the water which lowers your IQ has infected many and the mercury and aluminum in vaccines which goes to the fattiest tissue in the body (the brain) which causes encephalitis(swelling of the brain) has caused the vast majority to go mad.All those illnesses like shaken baby syndrome,MS,autism,lupos ,Alzheimer’s,senility are all the same called encephalitis(swelling of the brain).The medical establishment just calls it by many different names.Can you imagine a 5 pound baby getting all these vaccines with all that mercury,alluminum,formaldehyde, fetal foreign dna,etc.To me it seems something sinister is going on and we are the experiment.Just look at grandpa who always was a good patient and got his flu shot every year because he trusted the medical mafia and now is totally senile.Do your own research before you inflict so much harm in your children and yourself.Nothing is as it seems You have been lied to all your life.Please try to WAKE UP.

  8. Jan   August 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

    ASIA is much more common than we are led to believe. Any adjuvant, any foreign substance introduced into the body, will cause an inflammatory response – and sometimes, the local inflammatory response doesn’t get “turned off” by the body, leaving the patient with a chronic inflammation that can lead to all kinds of autoimmune conditions. In my case, the offending adjuvant was a transvaginal mesh bladder sling, made of polypropylene/plastic. The intent with these slings is to place the plastic mesh in an area of tissue weakness (for bladder prolapses, incontinence, hernia, etc.) The plastic causes inflammation and scar tissue that is supposed to cement the mesh in place, making the tissue stronger to hold up prolapsing/herniating organs. However, in a much larger number of people than first thought, the plastic continues to create a chronic inflammatory response. A large percentage of people in whom the mesh was implanted end up with autoimmune conditions like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Raynauds, RA. In the case of transvaginal mesh, there are 100,000+ women in the USA, not to mention hundreds of thousands in other countries, who are suffering from the horrific effects of mesh sling products. So yes, any adjuvant can cause ASIA. Whether it is an adjuvant in a vaccine, a medical implant (transvaginal mesh, hernia mesh, hip, knee, stent, breast implants,) a medication (Fluoroquinolone antibiotics for example.) The medical community needs to exercise much more caution in recommending any treatment that introduces adjuvants into the body, until the technology exists to predetermine which individuals are prone to chronic inflammatory responses from adjuvants.

  9. Chris   August 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Sarah, I am so sorry to hear about your child’s reaction and the torture you went through. Your response is similar to many that I have come across. Many victims and professionals will say the person who received a negative reaction must have had a “genetic predisposition” that caused the negative vaccine reaction. Very likely, but I am really beginning to be bothered by this thinking. Perhaps it’s because it overlooks the toxic concoctions in vaccines and lays the blame on the person’s genes. It’s insane. It’s akin to saying those few victims who suffer broken bones from a bat to their body had fragile bones. So now, people are not blaming the obvious cause of broken bones, but looking at the victim as having an poor bone strength to take the onslaught of a bat beating them, or in this case horrendous toxins being injected into people’s bloodstream. Secondly, why are people so stuck on vaccines (full of toxic chemicals) as being the way to staying healthy? We have all this mounting evidence they never saved us: Hygiene – clean water and living conditions did, poor/false record keeping, well over 12,000 (more like 120,000) injuries and deaths from vaccines/yr, escalating chronic diseases among our most vaccinated (kids) and so on. Please research further. Read “Vaccine Epidemic,” Vaccine-nation- Poisoning The Population One Shot At A Time,” “Dissolving Illusions”… Third, people can immunize themselves with a very, very safe method, unlike vaccines. It’s called homeoprophylaxis. In fact, there are many examples of it’s use and how it far exceeded protecting populations than did those who received the toxic vaccines.

  10. TheConsciousRN   August 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Insult to injury; Tylenol has been proven 2 decrease glutathione. A bodies natural detox agent. A crime against humanity

  11. Rhinoplasty in Hyderabad   February 21, 2018 at 3:33 am

    Great article, resonated with me from start to finish

  12. meagan   May 30, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    This was a great article. I am by no means antivaxx but when u gave birth to my daughter 5 years ago and they came to vaccinate her in my arms I felt a strong urge not to have vaccinations done. I then after that urge began researching vaccinations and I decided not to vaccinate my second daughter either. My daughter of 5 years old began having chronic fevers at 4.5 years old. I thought her immune system was just working well as she had no other symptoms, but time would tell. Over time I began to think it was odd she was having so many fevers. We are now in the process of diagnosis for periodic fever syndrome. I am completely convinced that if given the vaccinations earlier on it would have triggered her body into a little fire ball. I believe after she got muluscum ( an infection in the body) her fevers we’re triggered. She also was exposed to hands mouth and foot and chicken box by her sister and never contracted anything but just had the chronic fever. It hurts to see her go down every 3 weeks, but we are making way to find out how to treat this without getting her tonsils taken out. I also believe that she was genetically predisposed to these episodes.

  13. Tom Mauel   February 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Tremendous article.

  14. Nellie Simmon   March 16, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I agree with you


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