Gov't: Girl’s Autism-Like Symptoms Linked to Vaccines
Federal Officials Say Vaccines Worsened Condition That Led to Autism Spectrum Disorder in Georgia Girl
Mitochondial Disease continued...
The type of problem such children develop depends on the part of the brain
that is affected. Some may become spastic and have trouble walking. Others may
have seizures, problems with language, and sometimes problems with social
behavior, Trevathan said.
Children who have mitochondrial disorders, even though they seem normal, are
predestined to have a problem when they have stress," he said at the CDC
news conference. "This is distressing for parents who watch their children
suddenly deteriorate. Most are normal appearing until they exhibit signs of
disease when placed under severe stress. Most do not have problems with
Some researchers have suggested that mitochondrial diseases or disorders are
more common in children with autism than in other children.
"If anyone said mitochondrial disease prevalence is higher among
children with autism, that is a hypothesis and there is remarkably little data
to support it," Trevathan said. "The truth is we don't know the
prevalence of mitochondrial disease in the general population."
Mohan of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation tells WebMD that
mitochondrial disease affects one in 4,000 children -- and maybe more. But he
rejects the link to autism.
"Persons with mitochondrial disease don't necessarily have autism, and
persons with autism don't necessarily have mitochondrial disease," Mohan
says. "Just as with vaccines, there is no scientific proof vaccinations
cause mitochondrial deficiencies or autism."
Trevathan notes that though doctors are urged to consider each child's
individual risk, vaccinations are generally recommended for children with
"We do recommend immunizations, because many of the diseases we immunize
against are associated with regression in children with
mitochondrial disorders," he said.
Vaccine-Autism Link: More Info
The court has not yet decided on the amount of damages. That decision, those
close to the case say, could take a few months or more.
The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was set up to ensure an
adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize costs, and to provide an avenue for
individuals injured by certain vaccines. The CDC web site says the
program was triggered by reports in the early 1980s of harmful side
effects following vaccination with the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
vaccine. As the number of lawsuits filed against vaccine makers
increased, vaccination rates among children fell. Vaccine companies wary of
liability began to drop out of the market. To help solve the situation, the
National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 established the
The American Academy of Pediatrics in a statement, says the case
"raised many questions."
"The AAP leadership is seeking access to official documents in the case
so medical experts can examine the science and consider whether it raises
implications for other children. The AAP wants to ensure the public is provided
accurate information about the safety and importance of vaccines. Our members
are dedicated to the health of all children and urge parents to fully immunize
their children," the statement says.
(WebMD senior writer Daniel J. DeNoon contributed to this