DENMARK (WBRE/WYOU – CNN) – A new study of more than 650,000 children finds the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine does not increase the risk of autism and does not trigger autism in children who are at work.
The study is the latest in a series of scientific reports being used to boost efforts to immunize more children against diseases once believed to be on the brink of extinction.
The study was conducted by the Statens Serum Institute in Denmark and evaluated whether the MMR vaccine increased the risk of autism.
It followed 657,461 children born in Denmark between 1999 and 2010 through 2013 with researchers documenting diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder as well as known risk factors include the age of the parents, diagnosis of autism in a sibling, preterm birth and low weight birth.
It found that more than 95% of the children received the MMR vaccine and 6,517 were diagnosed with autism.
The study, published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded the MMR vaccine did not increase the risk of autism in children who were not considered at risk for the disorder and it didn’t trigger it in those who were.
The study was primarily funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Danish Ministry of Health
The release of the study is expected to add fuel to the controversy between health officials who urge immunization against MMR and those who oppose the vaccine.
Critics of the vaccine cite an increased incidence of autism based on a 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield which was published in the medical journal The Lancet. Wakefield had been compensated by a lw firm intending to sue manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, lost his medical license in 2010 and in 2011 the Lanced retracted the study after it found the study was based on misinformation.
The debate has taken on new importance with a recent outbreak of measles in Washington state, the Food and Drug Administration saying it may take a more active role in demanding states remove many of the exemptions to vaccinations of children.
The rising numbers of reported measles cases is not confined to the United States. On February 7, 2019 the World Health Organization issued a report that researchers estimate there were 6.7 million cases of measles reported worldwide in 2017, mostly in poorer countries and the number of cases reported surged 30% from 2016 to 2017.