Measles Vaccines Don’t Increase Seizure Risk

vaccinesAccording to a new study conducted by Kaiser Permanente researchers, youngsters aged 4 to 6 are not at higher risk of febrile seizures after receiving measles vaccines.

The study, conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center and funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at data from nearly 87,000 children ages 48 to 83 months who received the following vaccines: measles-mumps-rubella-chickenpox (MMRV) vaccine; the MMR vaccine plus the varicella vaccine for chickenpox, administered separately but on the same day; or either the MMR or varicella vaccine alone.

Febrile seizures are described as brief, fever-related convulsions. They are not fatal and do not lead to brain damage, epilepsy or other seizure disorders. The researchers noted that febrile seizures typically occur in children ages 6 months to 5 years, and the incidence of these seizures peaks at about 18 months of age.

There was no increased risk of febrile seizures among the children during the six weeks after they received any of the vaccines, according to the study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.

In a news release, lead author for the study, Dr. Nicola Klein, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, said, “The results provide reassuring evidence that neither MMRV nor MMR plus V appear to be associated with an increased risk of post-vaccination febrile seizures in this 4-to-6 age group.”

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, associate chairman for clinical services at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. stated that, “Families of 4- to 6-year-olds can be reassured from this study that a combination MMRV vaccine is safe.” He went on to say that, “Febrile seizures are scary; the child develops a high fever and convulses The condition is surprisingly common and can occur after colds and other viral infections.”

(SOURCES: Bruce Hirsch, M.D., attending physician, Infectious Disease, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Kaiser Permanente, news release, April 2, 2012)

 

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