Yet another vast study completely dispels any link between vaccines and autism
"Any myth linking vaccines with autism should be clearly labeled as such – a myth."
Ever since a controversial and ultimately retracted 1998 paper claimed there was a direct connection between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism concerns about a potential link between the two have persisted, despite many subsequent studies clearly showing this to not be true.
And now a brand new Danish study has further come up with proof that those sceptical of vaccines need to not worry – they are important, safe and, most importantly, does not cause autism.
In the study, researchers examined data on 657,461 children. During this time, 6,517 kids were diagnosed with autism.
Researchers studied the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism in a nationwide cohort of all children born in Denmark to Danish-born mothers from 1999 to 2010. They followed kids from age one through the end of August 2013. Overall, 95 percent of the kids in the study got the vaccine.
Most interestingly was the findings that kids who got the MMR vaccine were seven percent less likely to develop autism than children who didn't get vaccinated, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In fact, children who had no childhood vaccinations were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations.
Overall, children with autistic siblings were more than seven times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids without this family history, and boys were four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, the study found.
"Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism," said lead study author Dr. Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks," Hviid said to NBC News.
The new Danish study adds to a large body of evidence showing that vaccines don't cause autism, writes Dr. Saad Omer of Emory University in Atlanta, co-author of an accompanying editorial.
"Any myth should be clearly labeled as such," Omer writes. "Even in the face of substantial and increasing evidence against an MMR-autism association, the discussion around the potential link has contributed to vaccine hesitancy."
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can be fatal. It starts with a fever that can last a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose and pink eye. A rash develops on the face and neck and then spreads to the rest of the body. In severe cases, pneumonia and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, can develop.
People with measles can spread the virus for several days before and after the rash appears, and the virus can live for up to two hours on surfaces where an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can become infected by breathing in droplets or touching a contaminated surface and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Just a five percent reduction in vaccination coverage can triple measles cases in the community, researchers note.