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Study Firmly Shows No Connection Between Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine And Autism

Posted Sep 09 2008 2:04am

In a case-control study, the presence of measles virus RNA was no more likely in children with autism and GI disturbances than in children with only GI disturbances. Furthermore, GI symptom and autism onset were unrelated to MMR vaccine timing. Study findings are reported online in the Public Library of Science on September 4.

Prior to the implementation of measles vaccines in 1963, three to four million people were newly infected each year, 400-500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. From January 1 through July 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received 131 reports of confirmed measles virus infection in the U.S., the highest number for the same time period since 1996. Of these 131 cases, 91% occurred in individuals who had not been vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status.

In 1998, a report of the presence of measles virus RNA in intestinal tissue from children with autism spectrum disorders and GI disturbances (Wakefield et al.) resulted in public concern over the safety of MMR vaccine. Although epidemiological investigations found no associations between MMR vaccine and autism, no subsequent studies tested for the presence of viral RNA in GI tissues of children with autism and GI disturbances or examined the temporal relationship of MMR, GI disturbances, and autism. Failure to have done so may have contributed to persistent concerns that have influenced vaccine acceptance rates, resulting in outbreaks of measles.

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