Mass psychogenic illness following HPV immunization in Carmen de Bolivar, Colombia (2014): more uncertainty is required

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2019;15(5):1199-1200. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2019.1577676. Epub 2019 Apr 2.


The interesting article by Simas et. al. describes an outbreak case with over 600 individuals who exhibited neurological symptoms and which occurred in a town located at the northern region of Colombia in 2014. The community associated this event to the second-dose vaccination campaign against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and scientists defined it as a mass psychogenic illness. Unfortunately, the authors did not include in their article important findings related to a case-control study (with n = 137 and n = 437, respectively), conducted by the Colombian government. After inquiring "have you ever received vaccination against human papillomavirus?", a significant association with the vaccine was identified (adjusted OR: 10.8, 95% CI: 1.4-80.2).

Keywords: Colombia; HPV vaccine; mass psychogenic illness; multilevel analysis.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colombia
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Infections*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Uncertainty
  • Vaccination


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines