MMR Vaccination and Autism
- 986 Downloads
It has been suggested that vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism. The wide-scale use of the MMR vaccine has been reported to coincide with the apparent increase in the incidence of autism. Case reports have described children who developed signs of both developmental regression and gastrointestinal symptoms shortly after MMR vaccination.
A review of the literature revealed no convincing scientific evidence to support a causal relationship between the use of MMR vaccines and autism. No primate models exist to support the hypothesis. The biological plausibility remains questionable and there is a sound body of epidemiological evidence to refute the hypothesis. The hypothesis has been subjected to critical evaluation in many different ways, using techniques from molecular biology to population-based epidemiology, and with a vast number of independent researchers involved, none of which has been able to corroborate the hypothesis.
KeywordsMeasle Autistic Child Vaccination Coverage Measle Virus Autistic Disorder
The activities of the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre are funded by a grant from the Danish National Research Foundation. We thank Jørn Olsen for useful comments and suggestions and Hanne Grand for linguistic revision of the manuscript. The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.
- 1.Panum P. Observations made during the epidemic of measles on the Faroe Islands in the year 1846 [in Danish]. Bibl Læger 1847; 1: 270–344Google Scholar
- 3.Katz SL, Enders J. Immunization of children with a live attenuated measles virus. Am J Dis Child 1959; 98: 605–7Google Scholar
- 4.Measles eradication: recommendations from a meeting cosponsored by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and CDC. MMWR Recomm Rep 1997; 46 (RR-11): 1–20Google Scholar
- 6.McLean ME, Walsh PJ, Carter OA. Measles in Canada-1989. Can Commun Dis Rep 1990; 16(42): 213–8Google Scholar
- 7.Siedler A. Measles outbreaks in Germany [online]. Available from URL: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2002/020321.asp [Accessed 2003 Jan 5]. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2002, 6(12)
- 8.Atti AC, Salmaso S, Pizzuti R. Epidemic measles in the Campania region of Italy leads to 13 cases of encephalitis and 3 deaths [online]. Available from URL: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2002/020704.asp [Accessed 2003 Jan 5]. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2002, 6(27)
- 11.California Department of Developmental Services HaHSA. Changes in the population of persons with autism and pervasive developmental disorders in California’s Developmental Services System: 1987 through 1998. A report to the Legislature. California: California Health and Human Services Agency, 2001Google Scholar
- 12.Health Protection Agency, Department of Health Statistics Division. Completed primary courses at two years of age: England and Wales, 1966-1977, England only, 1977 onwards [online]. Available from URL: http://www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/vaccination/cover.htm [Accessed 2004 Jul 5]
- 13.MMR vaccine: how effective and how safe? Drug Ther Bull 2003; 41 (4): 25–9Google Scholar
- 31.Katz M, Plotkin SA. Parainfectious encephalopathies associated with measles, mumps, chickenpox, and German measles. Philadelphia (PA): Lea & Febiger, 1977Google Scholar
- 42.Stratton K, Gable A, Shetty P, et al., editors. Immunization safety review: measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001Google Scholar
- 60.Larsson HJ, Eaton WW, Madsen KM, et al. Risk factors for autism: perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history and socioeconomic status. Am J Epidemiol. In pressGoogle Scholar
- 61.Bircher J, Benhamou JP, McIntyre N, et al., editors. Oxford textbook of clinical hepatology. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999Google Scholar
- 66.Medical Research Council. MRC review of autism research: epidemiology and causes. London: British Medical Research Council, 2001Google Scholar
- 71.Strategies for reducing global measles mortality. Wkly Epidemiol Rec 2000; 75 (50): 411–6Google Scholar