Vaccination Safe for Kids With Genetic Disorders
Study Shows Vaccines in Kids With Rare Disorders Don't Cause Autism or Other Health Problems
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 30, 2009 (Philadelphia) -- Vaccination does not appear to cause autism
or other health problems, even in children with certain genetic disorders, a
new study suggests.
Experts say the finding is noteworthy because in 2007 the Department of
Health and Human Services conceded that vaccination could have aggravated a
child's underlying mitochondrial disorder and caused her autism symptoms.
Mitochondrial disorder is one of a group of over 90 rare genetic disorders
known collectively as inborn errors of metabolism. Other examples include
phenylketonuria (PKU) and Tay-Sachs disease.
"After that ruling, there was some concern that vaccination may place some
children with genetic disorders at increased risk for autism or other adverse
effects," says researcher Nicola Klein, MD, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente
Vaccine Study Center in Oakland, Calif. "But we found no increase in emergency
room visits or serious side effects" among children with inborn errors of
metabolism, she tells WebMD.
Klein and colleagues examined Northern California Kaiser Permanente’s
medical records and identified about 75 children who were diagnosed with an
inborn error of metabolism from 1990 to 2007. Then, their immunization and
health records were compared with those of more than 1,500 healthy
children of the same ages. Results showed there was no difference in the
proportion of children who were up to date for all their shots by age 2.
The researchers then looked at how many times about 250 children with an
inborn error of metabolism, seven of whom had mitochondrial disorder, had been
hospitalized or rushed to the ER in the 30 days after receiving any vaccine.
That figure was compared to how many times they were hospitalized or sent to
the ER in the second month after vaccination.
There was no difference, Klein says. "If the vaccine was causing any
problems, we would expect to see them emerge right around the time of
vaccination, not a month later."
While preliminary, the findings "are very reassuring," says Emory
University's Larry Pickering, MD, a senior advisor to the CDC's National
Pickering moderated the session at which the study was presented at the
annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
"Most of us who take care of kids with inborn errors of metabolism think
vaccination is one of the best interventions we can offer them. They are at
increased risk for devastating complications, even death, from the diseases
that the vaccines prevent," he tells WebMD.