Link between autism and infections during pregnancy explored
November 12th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

Link between autism and infections during pregnancy explored

If a mother has an infection or the flu during pregnancy, can it raise the risk of autism for her child? A new study out of Denmark suggests that the answer is "probably not" and "maybe" and that the issue definitely needs more study.

"Overall, we found little evidence that various types of mild common infectious diseases or febrile episodes during pregnancy were associated with ASD/infantile autism (autism spectrum disorders)," the study authors wrote.

But they also say their data suggest there are three scenarios in which there might be an increased risk of the child developing autism. If the mother had the flu, there was "a two-fold increased risk of infantile autism; if the mom had "prolonged episodes of fever" (lasting a week or more), the risk goes up threefold; "and use of various antibiotics during pregnancy were potential risk factors for ASD/infantile autism."  

But the study authors also concede that the results may be skewed by multiple testing, contributing to the potential for “chance findings.”

The study

These results of this study – published Monday in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics - are based on researchers interviewing the mothers of 96,736 children born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003.

These women were asked nearly 200 questions in phone interviews around the 17th week of pregnancy, the 32nd week of pregnancy and six months after giving birth, long before any child could have been diagnosed with autism. This aimed to eliminate "recall bias," which can occur in studies where subjects self-report on their health. These women were asked whether they had any infections or episodes of fever and for how long, and whether they had taken any antibiotics.

The results

Among the over 96,000 children born, 976 were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The main signs and symptoms of autism involve difficulties with communication, social interactions and repetitive behaviors. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 children currently is diagnosed with autism, including one in 54 boys.

The study authors themselves note that a recently published Swedish study, which used inpatient hospital register data, "found no association between any prenatal infection and ASD."

The takeaway

“An important message is that even though we find an increased risk of ASD after influenza and prolonged periods of fever during pregnancy, the study is still speculative,” lead study author Dr. Hjördis Osk Atladottir said in an e-mail. “It is important to bear in mind that when you look at the absolute numbers, we see that around 99% of women reporting to have had influenza or fever during pregnancy do not have children with ASD. We do not want pregnant women to worry. Our results are truly explorative.”

She and her co-authors strongly recommend further research in this area.

In the meantime, Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a child neurologist at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, says that since this study suggests the possibility of an association between influenza and autism, it reinforces the recommendation that pregnant women should get a flu shot, as recommended by the CDC.

soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. FbsfEncox

    Enalapril http://uspharmus.com/ Florinef

    May 2, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. LhdvZisse

    purchase original cialis http://asciled.com/ – cialis overnight deleivery black cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RebfZisse

    cialis black pills https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis with daxopretine

    May 4, 2021 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RebfZisse

    cialis no prescription https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis no prescription overnight shipping cialis 10mg tablets

    May 4, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. GtnbCrulk

    what is in viagra http://jokviagra.com/ how much is generic viagra

    May 4, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FmrfEncox

    cheap generic cialis canada http://cialisee.com/ cialis coupon code

    May 5, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JebgEncox

    Lincocin Lamisil 24 hour pharmacy

    May 5, 2021 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LbsoZisse

    india to buy cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ generic cialisis

    May 5, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AnooEncox

    500 mg viagra https://llviagra.com/ how much viagra works

    May 6, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. AnooEncox

    viagra 100 teilbar https://llviagra.com/ viagra in aachen kaufen

    May 6, 2021 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LbsoZisse

    buy cialis overnight shipping http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis with diapoxetine

    May 6, 2021 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LebnEncox

    cheap canadian pharmacy https://xlnpharmacy.com/ mexican pharmacy online medications

    May 6, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. GtnbCrulk

    viagra best buy https://jokviagra.com/ how much does viagra cost per pill

    May 7, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LebnEncox

    canadian pharmacy ed medications http://xlnpharmacy.com/ legit non prescription pharmacies

    May 7, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. FmrfEncox

    cialis pro https://cialisee.com/ cialis prices

    May 7, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JebgEncox

    Minipress https://pharmacylo.com/ canadapharmacyonline legit

    May 7, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. BbshMile

    female viagra 2015 https://loxviagra.com/ – otc viagra alternatives viagra condoms

    May 9, 2021 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. BbshMile

    viagra ingredients https://loxviagra.com/ – viagra and cocaine teva generic viagra

    May 9, 2021 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Pearline Vil

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs


    May 10, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RebfZisse

    generic cialis from india https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis 200 mg what is it brand cialis usa

    May 10, 2021 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rgitNT1

    539236 580471oh properly, Alicia silverstone is matured nowadays but when she was nonetheless younger, she may be the sex symbol of hollywood` 765107

    May 11, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RebfZisse

    cialis purchase canada http://rcialisgl.com/ – all cialis drug original prices cheap cialis canadian

    May 11, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Freeda Ostertag

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. GtnbCrulk

    generic viagra from canada http://jokviagra.com/ – buy female viagra is there a female viagra

    May 12, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FmrfEncox

    voucher cialis index https://cialisee.com/ canadian cialis reviews

    May 12, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. LbsoZisse

    cialis shop https://ucialisdas.com/ – cialis tabs cialis online doctor

    May 13, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. stornobrzinol

    Really great visual appeal on this web site, I'd value it 10 10.


    May 13, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. AnooEncox

    taub durch viagra http://llviagra.com/ viagra to conceive

    May 13, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. AnooEncox

    how old do u have to be to take viagra https://llviagra.com/ – getting viagra in nz viagra and caverject together

    May 13, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. JebgEncox

    erectile dysfunction pills http://pharmacylo.com/ Micardis

    May 13, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    cialis denmark http://ucialisdas.com/ puchsae cialis

    May 13, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. FmrfEncox

    cialis http://cialisee.com/ black cialis from singapore

    May 14, 2021 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GtnbCrulk

    viagra patent expiration https://jokviagra.com/ viagra pill for men

    May 14, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LebnEncox

    northwest pharmaceuticals canada https://xlnpharmacy.com/ corner drug store

    May 14, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LebnEncox

    buying prescription drugs canada http://xlnpharmacy.com/ buy online pharmacy uk

    May 15, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JebgEncox

    Benicar https://pharmacylo.com/ Kamagra

    May 15, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. stornobrzinol

    I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you might have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very comfortable that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something referring to this.


    May 16, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. BbshMile

    como funciona el viagra http://loxviagra.com/ viagra 100mg

    May 16, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Long Anesi

    I don't know about you all but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/06/new-bling-comes-to-the-boeing-737/


    May 16, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. BbshMile

    can you buy viagra over the counter? http://loxviagra.com/ viagra 100mg

    May 16, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RebfZisse

    best price for cialis 20mg http://rcialisgl.com/ order generic cialis online

    May 17, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tanner Mcmonagle

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs


    May 17, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RebfZisse

    uninsured cost of cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis on line

    May 17, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Silas

    Does your site have a contact page? I'm having a tough
    time locating it but, I'd like to send you an e-mail.
    I've got some suggestions for your blog you
    might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    May 17, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Marjory Budd

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/12/why-dont-airlines-put-more-ads-inon-planes/


    May 17, 2021 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    Outstanding post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

    Appreciate it!

    May 18, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Chi Renney

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/10/get-your-aviation-geek-fest-2010-tickets-now/


    May 19, 2021 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. FmrfEncox

    cheapest cialis on the web https://cialisee.com/ can i take cialis with daxpoteine

    May 19, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. JebgEncox

    Isoptin https://pharmacylo.com/ Trandate

    May 19, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. LbsoZisse

    cialis 60 http://ucialisdas.com/ buy cialis online in australia

    May 19, 2021 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.