Measles vaccination and inflammatory bowel disease: a national British Cohort Study

Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Dec;95(12):3507-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.03288.x.


Objective: Measles vaccination has been suggested as a risk for inflammatory bowel disease. Atypical age of measles infection has also been associated with Crohn's disease. This study was designed to examine the relationship of measles vaccination and age of measles vaccination with later inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: A prospective population-based national birth cohort was used, of those born in 1 wk in April 1970 in Great Britain. The data are from 7616 responding members of the 1970 British Cohort Study with complete vaccination data, who were traced at age 26 yr. A diagnosis of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes mellitus (a control disease) was obtained by survey at age 26 yr, and confirmed by physicians. Vaccination data were from survey at age 5 yr. Measles and mumps infection data were obtained from the survey at age 10 yr. Adjustment was made for sex, household crowding in childhood, and father's social class at birth.

Results: No statistically significant association was found between measles vaccination status at 5 yr and Crohn's disease (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.27-1.63), ulcerative colitis (adjusted OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.20-1.61), or diabetes (adjusted OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.33-1.74). There was a statistically significant trend (p = 0.040) with increasing age of measles vaccination for risk of Crohn' s disease, although this was based on very few cases vaccinated after age 2 yr.

Conclusions: In this cohort, monovalent measles vaccination status is not associated with inflammatory bowel disease by age 26 yr. Older age at measles vaccination needs to be examined in other studies to confirm whether it is a genuine risk for Crohn's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / epidemiology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology
  • Crohn Disease / epidemiology*
  • Crohn Disease / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Measles Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*


  • Measles Vaccine