Measles-mumps-rubella and other measles-containing vaccines do not increase the risk for inflammatory bowel disease: a case-control study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink project

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Mar;155(3):354-9. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.155.3.354.


Context: A link between measles virus-containing vaccines and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been suggested by recent studies.

Objective: To address whether receipt or timing of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) increases risk for IBD.

Design: A case-control study.

Setting: Four large health maintenance organizations (HMOs) that are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Safety Datalink project.

Patients or other participants: A total of 155 persons with codes from International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision specific for IBD, born between 1958 and 1989 and enrolled from birth to the onset of disease, were identified. Up to 5 controls were matched by sex, HMO, and birth year.

Intervention: None.

Main outcome measures: Risk for IBD, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Results: Past vaccination was not associated with an increased risk for Crohn's disease (odds ratio [OR] for measles-mumps-rubella vaccine [MMR], 0.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08-2.0), ulcerative colitis (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.18-3.56), or IBD (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.21-1.68). Risk for IBD was not increased among children vaccinated who were younger than 12 months (OR for MMR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.15-2.45) or aged 12 to 18 months (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.28-2.59) relative to unvaccinated children. Children vaccinated with MMR who were older than 18 months were at significantly decreased risk for IBD (OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.04-0.68). Neither past vaccination nor age at vaccination with other MCV was associated with increased risk for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or IBD. Risk for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or IBD was not elevated in the time immediately following vaccination with either vaccine.

Conclusions: Vaccination with MMR or other MCV, or the timing of vaccination early in life, did not increase the risk for IBD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / chemically induced
  • Crohn Disease / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Risk Factors


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine