Cases of flu during pregnancy 'are not linked to child autism risk'

30 November 2016

Influenza infections in pregnant women do not increase their chances of subsequently giving birth to a child with autism, according to a new study.

The Kaiser Permanente Northern California research examined data from more than 196,000 children and found no association between a mother having an flu infection at any time during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders in children.

Although there was a suggestion of an increased risk of autism associated with maternal vaccinations in the first trimester, the authors said the finding was likely due to chance, as it was not deemed to be statistically significant.

Nevertheless, the research concluded: "While we do not advocate changes in vaccine policy or practice, we believe that additional studies are warranted to further evaluate any potential associations between first-trimester maternal influenza vaccination and autism."

Overall, the study should offer assurances that women who contract flu during pregnancy need not be unduly worried about the disease affecting the development of their children in this way.

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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