The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started an investigation into possible side effects of the HPV vaccine that is given to young women to protect them from cervical cancer.

Two rare syndromes are sometimes seen in patients provided with the immunization. Three varieties of the vaccine are currently used throughout Europe. 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) can result in genital warts, a common condition among adults. A vaccine to prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of cervical cancer is commonly given to girls between the ages of 11 and 12. 

A total of 11 cases of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, possibly tied to the HPV vaccine, are being investigated by the EMA. This condition is marked by dizziness, weakness and fainting driven by abnormal heartbeat. The agency is also investigating 10 reports of complex regional pain syndrome, marked by pain in limbs of those who suffer from the condition. 

"More than eight million doses of HPV vaccine have been given in the UK, with close to 90 percent of eligible teenagers vaccinated. With this very high level of vaccine uptake, such reports are to be expected. But the vaccine isn't necessarily the cause and coincidental illness is a factor," Sarah Branch, Deputy Director of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said

Human papillomavirus is usually spread through sexual contact, and more than three million cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. The disease is caused by one of 150 known types of viruses, and although the vaccines do not protect against all varieties, the immunization does shield against the most common types. 

"HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) ... HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. You can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected, making it hard to know when you first became infected," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report

There is currently no routine screening method for diagnosing for infections, although health care professionals can screen for the disease during routine checkups. Outcomes are improved among patients who are diagnosed early. 

Officials of the EMA stated they expect to establish a causal relationship between the two conditions and the HPV vaccine, but not to recommended any change in the recommended uses or distribution of the drug. 

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