Study tentatively links flu in pregnancy and infantile autism

Study tentatively links flu in pregnancy and infantile autism
Study tentatively links flu in pregnancy and infantile autism
Getting the flu during the first or second trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of autism in the future child according to a Danish study. A fact but not a causal link.

A pregnant woman who has the flu doubles the risk of having an autistic child.

This is the conclusion of a Danish study published in the American journal Pediatrics.

Researchers at the University of Aarhus followed 97,000 children born between 1997 and 2003.

During the study, 976 of them have been diagnosed with autism. Mothers who reported to the researchers have had the flu during pregnancy increased their risk of giving birth to an autistic child by two. The taking of antibiotics has slightly increased the risk of autism in the child.

“I really want to emphasize that this is not something you should worry about,” said lead author Dr. Hjordis Osk Atladottir, from the University of Aarhus.

“Ninety-nine per cent of women with influenza do not have a child with autism,” she told Reuters Health. “If it were me that was pregnant, I wouldn’t do anything different from before, because our research is so early and exploratory.”

Problem, scientists are not evidence of a possible link between flu during pregnancy and autism. “Almost 99% of women who have suffered a high fever or flu or who have taken antibiotics during pregnancy did not have autistic child”, wishes to reassure one of the researchers.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, online November 12, 2012

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