Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 12, pp 4015–4025

Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders


    • Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Yinge Qian
    • Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Cathleen Yoshida
    • Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Judith K. Grether
  • Judy Van de Water
    • Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical ImmunologyUniversity of California, Davis
    • The M.I.N.D. InstituteUniversity of California, Davis
    • The NIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental HealthUniversity of California, Davis
  • Lisa A. Croen
    • Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Northern California
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-2016-3

Cite this article as:
Zerbo, O., Qian, Y., Yoshida, C. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2015) 45: 4015. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-2016-3


We conducted a nested case–control study including 407 cases and 2,075 frequency matched controls to investigate the association between maternal infections during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cases, controls, and maternal infections were ascertained from Kaiser Permanente Northern California clinical databases. No overall association between diagnoses of any maternal infection during pregnancy and ASD was observed [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 1.15, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.92–1.43]. However, women with infections diagnosed during a hospital admission (ORadj = 1.48, 95 % CI 1.07–2.04), particularly bacterial infections (ORadj = 1.58, 95 % CI 1.06–2.37), were at increased risk of delivering a child with ASD. Multiple infections during pregnancy were associated with ASD (ORadj = 1.36, 95 % CI 1.05–1.78).


Maternal infectionPregnancyAutism spectrum disorder

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013