LAS VEGAS (KTNV/CNN) - A Nevada man has been hospitalized for almost a week after he developed a rare immune system disorder that a medical professional says has been linked to the flu vaccine.
Monique Morgan says her family got flu shots Nov. 2 in anticipation of the holiday season. They wanted to stay healthy as they welcomed visitors.
Everyone, including Monique’s husband Shane Morgan, got vaccinated. But 36 hours after Shane Morgan received his shot, his wife says he developed flu-like symptoms.
About 10 days later on Nov. 14, Shane Morgan asked his wife for help.
"He’s like, ‘I can’t feel my legs. I can’t feel my arms. I need you to take me to the emergency room,’” Monique Morgan said.
Shane Morgan has been hospitalized for six days. Medical professionals believe he could be experiencing Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare disorder in which a person’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes temporary paralysis.
“This is the only inkling that they have as far as what’s going on with him,” Monique Morgan said.
The exact cause of GBS is unknown, but most develop it after being sick. In the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people get it each year.
"In all my years of practice, I had only seen one case of this,” said Dr. Daliah Wachs, who is not treating Shane Morgan.
Wachs says if you have a history of GBS, talk to your doctor. But medical professionals still urge the general public to get vaccinated.
"You can’t get that from a flu shot. A flu shot will not inject anything into you. Guillain-Barré is your body’s response to a flu shot or to a pathogen,” Wachs said. “We don’t want anybody scared to get the flu shot because the flu shot saves lives, and I’ve seen more GBS from people getting the flu than from people getting the flu shot.”
The symptoms of GBS usually last for a few weeks. Most people recover fully from the disorder, but some have long-term nerve damage.
While she waits for her husband to hopefully completely recover, Monique Morgan says her goal is to educate the public on the disorder.