Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) Caused by Vaccine

If you have ever had an adverse reaction to a vaccine, you likely feel confused and scared. You may be wondering, “How could this happen? Vaccines are supposed to keep me safe, not hurt me”. Unfortunately, vaccines can cause injuries in rare cases.

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a condition that may occur after receiving certain vaccines, including the flu shot, MMR vaccine, and HPV vaccine. ADEM is defined as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It also causes damage to myelin – the protective covering around nerve fibers. ADEM is often preceded by viral infections, bacterial infections, and sometimes vaccinations.

At first, the symptoms of ADEM may be mild, but they can quickly become severe without a timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Symptoms can include fever, headache, drowsiness, seizures, and comas.

If you’ve been diagnosed with ADEM after receiving a vaccine, you may be eligible for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.



What is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)? 

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare but serious neurological condition that mostly affects children and young adults. The condition is characterized by an inflammatory response in the central nervous system (CNS), which can lead to damage of the myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibers. This damage can cause a variety of symptoms, including paralysis, blindness, and seizures. While ADEM can occur spontaneously, it can be triggered by a viral infection or vaccination. 

What Causes ADEM? 

While the exact cause of ADEM is unknown, it is thought to be an autoimmune reaction in which the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue. Common viruses that have been linked to ADEM include the measles virus, varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles), and Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis). Vaccines that have been associated with ADEM include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, the varicella vaccine (used to prevent chickenpox), and the influenza vaccine. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ADEM after receiving a vaccine, you may be entitled to compensation. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) is a federal program that pays out medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages to people who have been injured by vaccines. To be eligible for compensation, you must first file a petition. This process can be complicated. You may be required to submit medical records and other evidence that shows that the vaccine you received caused your injury. An experienced vaccine injury attorney can assist you throughout the entire process. 

Treating ADEM 

Although ADEM is a rare disease with no cure, treatment for ADEM can include the following: 

  • High-dose intravenous corticosteroids, typically methylprednisolone. These medications are administered over the course of three to five days, followed by a tapering dose of steroids given orally. The goal is to reduce inflammation and aid in recovery from the disease. 

  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis). In plasmapheresis, blood is circulated through a machine that removes components of the immune system from circulation in order to reduce inflammation. The process usually takes a few hours and is done every other day for 10-14 days, often during a hospital stay. To rapidly remove blood from the body, placement of a central venous catheter may be necessary. 

  • IV immune globulin (IVIG). This intravenous treatment uses a blood product that has been shown to reduce the activity of certain autoimmune diseases, including ADEM. Treatment usually takes place over five days, with a few hours of treatment each day. 

  • Cyclophosphamide is a chemotherapy used in very rare, severe cases that do not respond to other therapies such as steroids, IVIG and/or plasma exchange. 


Looking for Compensation Following a Vaccine-Related Injury? 

If you or a loved one have received a vaccine and were then diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, reach out to the vaccine injury attorneys at The Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel today. You could be eligible for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

There are deadlines to file your claim. In order to qualify for compensation, vaccine injury claims must be filed within the following specified periods of times. 

  • For injury claims, you have three years after the first onset of symptoms 

  • For death claims, you have two years from the date of death 

Meeting with a vaccine injury attorney as soon as possible will help preserve your chance of receiving full compensation. 

The best part about the NVICP is that the program pays for attorney’s fees and other legal costs – whether or not your claim is paid out in the end. 


How to Receive Compensation for ADEM Vaccine Injury 

Individuals who have suffered from ADEM after receiving a covered vaccine under the NVICP can file a petition for compensation through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. There are specific rules that must be followed when submitting a claim. An experienced vaccine attorney can help you navigate the process and help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. 

What is the Maximum Amount of Compensation I can Receive from the NVICP? 

There is no set amount of compensation for experiencing ADEM after a vaccine. The amount of compensation you can receive is dependent on your situation, the severity of your symptoms, and how long they lasted. 

You can receive compensation for vaccine-injury-related lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. Medical bills will be reimbursed to your insurance company. You can also be compensated for pain and suffering, although that is difficult to calculate on your own since you don’t have any ‘receipt’ for it. 

The NVICP is a difficult process to go through alone. Consulting with a vaccine injury lawyer will help ensure you are adequately compensated for your injuries. 

How to Find a Vaccine Injury Attorney 

Because the VICP is an alternative to the traditional tort system, a run-of-the-mill personal injury attorney may not be well-equipped to handle vaccine-related claims.  

At the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel, our lawyers are knowledgeable about the VICP and will advocate for you to the best of their ability. Don’t wait to file a petition, there are deadlines that must be met. Call us today at 614-389-9711 for a free case evaluation. 


The law gives Braden a pragmatic way to solve problems using his background in clinical psychology. He is a talented presenter in the courtroom, as he understands how to effectively question witnesses and relay information. He specializes in vaccine injury, personal injury, probate litigation, and business law, and has been recognized for his work by SuperLawyers.