April 29th, 2003
A number of past reports have suggested a link between multiple sclerosis and vaccinations. Now, a new study reports vaccinations against hepatitis B, influenza, tetanus, measles or rubella are not associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis or other diseases.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that strikes genetically susceptible people. However, certain infections are also suspected to be involved. Several cases have shown some patients are diagnosed with the disease after getting a vaccination. Is there a connection? Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study to look at the relationship between vaccinations and the increased risk of multiple sclerosis or other similar diseases.
For the study, researchers included 440 people who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or optic neuritis. Optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve, which is the main nerve involved in vision. The study also included 950 healthy individuals. Researchers collected information on vaccinations and other risk factors for all participants. They also looked at the onset of disease for those participants diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or optic neuritis.
Researchers report finding no increased risk for these diseases based on the timing of a vaccination. The results were similar when multiple sclerosis and optic neuritis were analyzed separately. Researchers conclude previous case reports of patients getting these diseases shortly after receiving a vaccine are probably coincidental and not true causal associations.
SOURCE: Archives of Neurology, 2003;60:504-509
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