Carmen de Bolivar: Neuropathic pain epidemic among Colombian girls

Original Research By Pompilio Martinez N., M.D.
Alumnus, School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Former researcher Colombian National Institute of Health, Bogotá, Colombia


The presence of neuropathic pain was investigated in 19 adolescents from Carmen de Bolívar (Colombia) and 2 women from the rest of the country with a history of immunization with Gardasil, a human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. Presence of neuropathic pain was investigated using the self completed LANSS survey (S-LANSS) in girls who volunteered to participate. Scores from each patients’ surveys were correlated with available clinical data. With the exception of one patient, all respondents reported intense pain with S-LANSS scores suggestive of neuropathic pain. In most patients, additional clinical data indicated that neuropathic pain was associated with damage to the peripheral nervous system as suggested by complaints of paresthesias and muscle paresis (tingling/muscle weakness) and syncope presumably of neurocardiogenic nature due to compromise of the sympathetic nervous system. Perhaps the underlying cause of neuropathic pain in all vaccinated patients in this series is peripheral nerve demyelination. Neuropathic pain tends to worsen if untreated and no patient from Carmen de Bolívar has received analgesic treatment consistent with the substandard medical care and neglectful approach that the Colombian government has taken to the epidemic of adverse events triggered by HPV immunization in this town since March 2014. Clinical findings reported herein should be thoroughly addressed.  Por favor lee el articulo original en español


Everybody is familiar with ‘nociceptive pain’ which is a normal response to injury, trauma, disease or a transient abnormal condition (indigestion, poor posture, exercise, etc.). In all age groups, this is the most common type of pain and in childhood it occurs in the context of infection, trauma, burns, and surgical procedures among the most frequent. By contrast, ‘neuropathic pain’ is characterized by direct nerve damage and is often experienced as electrical or burning, but also with exaggerated pain sensation (hyperalgia) or sensitization to non-painful stimuli like touch (allodynia). It is often disabling, can be progressive and difficult to treat. Neuropathic pain is particularly rare in children and is observed in inherited diseases like Fabry’s and Erythromelalgia, or in instances of direct nerve damage such acute traumatic injury or toxicity during chemotherapy for cancer treatment or even more rare causes (Howard et al, 2013).

Readers of this blog are aware that I’m running a symptom survey among girls from Carmen de Bolívar and elsewhere in the country that have developed adverse events to the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil. A preliminary look at these surveys indicated high pain intensities at multiple body sites, which is an unusual as no traumatic or infectious lesion is expected after HPV vaccination, and much less to be spread throughout the body. In fact, some surveys show strikingly similarity to the case of María José reported in this blog. María José is a 26-year old Colombian woman who received 3 doses of Gardasil and developed multiple pains, recurrent syncope; muscle weakness and paresthesias in upper and lower limbs. Confirmatory tests demonstrated damage to the Peripheral Nervous System of Autonomic and Somatic branches. A thorough analysis of her symptoms confirmed the diagnosis of ASIA syndrome which means ‘Autoimmune / Inflammatory Syndrome Induced Adjuvants’, also compatible with damage to the peripheral nervous system due to chronic activation of the immune system by vaccination. The similarity between María José’s case with cases from the symptom survey suggested a mechanism that may explain severe pain at multiple body sites, i.e., an inflammatory damage to nerves of the autonomic and somatic peripheral system. That is, it suggested pain of neuropathic origin.

Hypothesis: It’s possible that multiple pains suffered by affected girls of HPV vaccine side effects are due to immune-mediated damage to the nervous system and thus it’s neuropathic pain.

Read the entire study in English here.

Read the entire study in Spanish here.



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