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Narcolepsy linked to swine flu pill

Health officials in Finland believe that four to 19-year-olds who were given a certain vaccine against swine flu have a greater risk of developing narcolepsy.

A preliminary study carried out by the country's National Narcolepsy Task Force indicates that children vaccinated with Pandemrix "contributed to the observed increase in incidence of narcolepsy" compared to those who were not vaccinated in the same age group.

Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare, which published the study, said that "the most likely explanation is that the increase in narcolepsy is by joint effect of the vaccine and some other factor".

In August, the European Medicines Agency revealed it was investigating a possible link between the swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy, a rare disorder that causes people to suddenly fall asleep.

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National Institute for Health and Welfare