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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

Abstract

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).

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Acknowledgments

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.

Funding

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.

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Correspondence to Ousseny Zerbo.

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Zerbo, O., Iosif, AM., Walker, C. et al. 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. J Autism Dev Disord 43, 25–33 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1540-x

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Keywords

  • Maternal influenza
  • Fever
  • Autism
  • Anti-fever medication