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79 People in Norway Lose Ability of
Taste and Smell After Swine Flu Vaccine

79 have lost their ability to taste or smell after taking the H1N1 swine flu vaccine in Norway.

Silje Marie Vatvik lost both taste and smell after taking the vaccine against swine flu. She has been sick for several weeks.

"People do not understand what it means to have taste and odor. I do not taste the food and can therefore do not want to swallow it. It inhibits me socially because I can attend dinner functions, " says Silje Marie Vatvik.

The 30-year-old who lives in Longyearbyen, was one of the first to receive the vaccine against swine flu. She worked in the department responsible for preparedness initiatives at the airport and was expected by her employer to be vaccined the same day first vaccines arrived on October 21.

"Had I not been expected to take the vaccine, I would have at least had the option, and the first thing I asked about were the side effects,", said Vatvik.

No response

Vatvik was not prepared for was to come after the vaccination, losing both her ability to taste and smell. She has not recovered these senses since taking the vaccine. The hospital administered many tests but the 30-year old has not responded to any of them.

"They kept all options open since it could have been a coincidence and nothing to do with the vaccine. But it was ultimately the one cause that remained," she says.

Vatvik is on sick leave indefinitely due to the illness. "I think about food all the time, have little energy and I'm irritable because I have low blood sugar," she says.

"There has been much talk about the vaccine not being tested, but it has been accepted in other countries before Norway. I know that foreign websites have been written about the loss of smell and taste associated with the vaccine, so it is strange that they were not more informed about it," said Vatvik.

When she went to the hospital, no one had heard of any similar cases. Now 79 people are suffering the same side effects notes the Norwegian Medicines Agency. They have no explanation for why some have lost their taste and smell after flu vaccine.

"It was unknown to us in advance that the loss of taste and sense of smell could be a side effect," said a spokesman from the Norwegian Medicines Agency, Steinar Madsen.

Madsen could not address why some patients suffer from the side effect. "We have no explanation for why it happens. We can not say for sure whether it has a relationship with the vaccine. There are other explanations, like that you get a viral infection while taking the vaccine," says Madsen.

When asked how long the patients it will take patients to recover, Madsen said, "I can not answer. I have talked to one patient who told me that she was well again after a couple of weeks."

Reference Source:
December 15, 2009

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