Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 25–33 | Cite as

Is Maternal Influenza or Fever During Pregnancy Associated with Autism or Developmental Delays? Results from the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) Study

  • Ousseny ZerboEmail author
  • Ana-Maria Iosif
  • Cheryl Walker
  • Sally Ozonoff
  • Robin L. Hansen
  • Irva Hertz-Picciotto
Original Paper


We analyzed data from case groups of 538 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 163 with developmental delays (DD), and from 421 typically developing controls to assess associations with maternal influenza or fever during pregnancy. Exposure information was obtained by telephone interviews, and outcomes were clinically confirmed. Though neither ASD nor DD was associated with influenza, both were associated with maternal fever during pregnancy: OR’s (odds ratios) were 2.12 (95 % CI 1.17, 3.84) and 2.50 (95 % CI 1.20, 5.20) respectively. However, the fever-associated ASD risk was attenuated among mothers who reported taking antipyretic medications (OR = 1.30, 95 % CI 0.59, 2.84), but remained elevated for those who did not (OR = 2.55, 95 % CI 1.30, 4.99).


Maternal influenza Fever Autism Anti-fever medication 



The authors would like to thank Paula Krakowiak and Lora Delwiche both from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California Davis for their great data management skills, Dr. Daniel Tancredi, PhD from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Davis for his statistical analysis advice.


The present work was supported by grants R01-ES015359 and P01-ES11269 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; # R-829388 & R-833292 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s STAR program; and the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10803_2012_1540_MOESM1_ESM.doc (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ousseny Zerbo
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Ana-Maria Iosif
    • 1
  • Cheryl Walker
    • 1
  • Sally Ozonoff
    • 2
  • Robin L. Hansen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Irva Hertz-Picciotto
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences, MS1CUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.The UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) InstituteSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  4. 4.Division of ResearchKaiser PermanenteOaklandUSA

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