Study finds no link between flu in pregnancy and autism

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Autism – iStock
Autism – iStock

Researchers found no link between influenza in pregnant women and the risk of her child developing autism after birth, according to a US study.

No vaccination link

Some earlier research has pointed to maternal infections as a possible cause of the neuro-developmental disorder, though other studies have not found any such link.

The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Paediatrics involved more than 196,000 children born in California from 2000 to 2010.

More than 3,100 children in the group had autism, which is believed to have genetic and environmental triggers but its causes remain poorly understood.

Read: New autism treatment hope

The study, led by Ousseny Zerbo of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, found no association between a higher risk of autism and influenza infection while pregnant.

Nor did it find any link between autism and vaccination against the flu during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

"There was a suggestion of increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with maternal vaccination in the first trimester," said the study, which went on to explain that this finding "was not statistically significant" after researchers adjusted for other risk factors.

The researchers said that at this time no "changes in vaccine policy or practice", are recommended but "additional studies are warranted".

Read more:

Major autism finding

Girls and boys have different autism profiles

Autism-linked genes may differ among siblings

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