Outbreaks of measles reported in several states have been attributed to parent's fear about an autism link with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Researchers hope a new study will again reassure parents vaccines are safe.
Denmark has long been on the forefront of vaccine-autism research.
It took mercury preservatives out of childhood vaccines more than 25 years ago, with no drop in autism.
More recently, the MMR vaccine has been blamed for autism increases.
A new, large study finds the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism.
"The new study, if we needed it, puts to rest once again that there is no association between measles vacccine and autism," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at all the children born in Denmark over more than a decade, and also found the MMR vaccine does not trigger autism in children at high risk of developing the disorder.
Researchers stress the importance of getting children vaccinated.
"Because children have been withheld from vaccination, the disease has recurred. It's imported from other parts of the world, finds those pockets of susceptible children... and causes illness among children who at the moment are too young to be vaccinated," Schaffner said.
Fore every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from the disease. Measles can also cause serious complications such as pneumonia and brain swelling.
Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine - one at 12-15 months old, and then a second at 4-6 years old.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the two doses are about 97 percent effective.
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