Saudi Arabia: MMR Vaccination Not Linked to Autism - Study

Arab News
JEDDAH, Feb 7:  A new study has dispelled fears that a triple vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) is linked to autism.

The new paper appears in “Archives of Disease in Childhood” published by the British Medical Association.

Pediatricians at the Ministry of Health and private hospitals as well as health care centers welcomed the news. “This development will certainly clear the doubts in the minds of the medical fraternity and the general public about the use of the triple vaccine,” said Dr. M.S. Karimuddin, senior pediatrician at a reputable Jeddah hospital.

“According to a new schedule of the Ministry of Health, the MMR vaccine is being given in two doses. The first dose is compulsorily administered at the age of 12 months and the second is given between four and six years. This is proof that the ministry has approved the use of MMR vaccine and that the earlier contention has been proved wrong,” Karimuddin added.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and is spread by coughing, sneezing or simply breathing near another person. Measles usually is most common in the late winter and early spring. Up until the past two decades, measles was one of the most common childhood diseases in America, occurring primarily in children aged two to six years, and almost every child had measles by the age of 15.

Historically, the majority of children in technologically advanced countries recovered from measles without major complications. However, measles in teenagers and adults or in very young infants can be much more severe with serious complications and increased mortality, said a pediatrician at a government hospital.

Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. The disorder appears to have been rising massively in developed countries for the past two decades, but experts are divided over the exact cause.

The investigation by British doctors comes nearly 10 years to the day since a study, appearing in The Lancet, unleashed a health scare that prompted many parents to refuse the MMR jab for their children.

That finding has since been debunked by several other studies and was finally retracted by 10 of its 13 authors in 2004.

The new study is based on antibody tests on blood samples taken from 240 children aged between 10 and 12 in southern England. It looked at 98 children with autism, and two comparison groups — 52 children with special educational needs but no autism, and 90 children who were developing normally.

All of the children had been given the MMR vaccination, but not all had been given the two scheduled doses.

The researchers looked at three paths that have been suggested as the various links between MMR vaccine and autism — evidence of persistent measles infection; an abnormal immune response; and an inflammatory bowel disorder called enterocolitis. They found no association at all.

Other investigations into the MMR scare have similarly found no evidence to support a link.

The original study was published in The Lancet on Feb. 28, 1998. In 2004, the British health journal distanced itself from the research and issued an apology for causing the scare.


Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: Saudi Arabia: MMR Vaccination Not Linked to Autism - Study

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.