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Sisters say HPV vaccine caused ovary damage

Madelyne Meylor, 21, left, and her sister, Olivia Meylor, 20, say their premature ovarian failure was caused by Gardasil, a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. A federal court in Washington, D.C., that heard their claim last year still hasn't ruled.

Eleven months after a federal court in Washington, D.C., heard a claim from Mount Horeb sisters that the vaccine to protect against human papillomavirus, or HPV, caused their ovaries to stop producing eggs, it is not clear when the court will issue a ruling.

In November, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a special court that evaluates claims of harm from vaccines, heard the claim by Madelyne Meylor, 21, and Olivia Meylor, 20.

The women were diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at age 16, shortly after getting three doses of the vaccine Gardasil, which is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12 to protect against cervical cancer, throat cancer, genital warts and other conditions.

The hearing was continued in February and attorneys filed briefs through April, said Mark Krueger, the Baraboo attorney representing the Meylors.

Krueger said he had expected a decision by now. But he has filed about a dozen other cases and is reviewing another dozen claims of injuries from the HPV vaccine, most involving ovarian failure but some including paralysis, blindness and death.

The court could be gathering information on all of the ovarian failure cases before it rules in the Meylor case, Krueger said.

The vaccine injury program has awarded at least $5.9 million for HPV vaccine injuries in 71 cases, according to the federal government and Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan foundation. The program has dismissed 80 claims, and 101 claims are pending.

About 25,000 adverse reactions from the HPV vaccine were reported nationally from June 2006 to March 2014, a period in which 67 million doses were distributed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 92 percent of the reactions — including fainting, dizziness and nausea — were not serious, the CDC said.

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David Wahlberg is the health and medicine reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.