Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and the development of autism or inflammatory bowel disease: the controversy should end

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Jul;8(3):187-99. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-8.3.187.


Vaccines have been administered to millions of individuals, usually infants and children, with few serious adverse effects. In 1998 a report suggested that there may be a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and the development of behavioral abnormalities (i.e., autism) and inflammatory bowel disease in children. This report generated considerable media and political attention, which many feared would result in a decreased willingness of parents to immunize their children against these contagious diseases. Over the past decade, an increasing number of healthcare practitioners have been credentialed to administer vaccinations. Therefore, it is imperative for all medical professionals to understand the controversy surrounding this issue and to be able to appropriately educate and advise parents accordingly. This review article evaluated the primary and secondary literature pertaining to this topic and concluded that the available epidemiological and scientific evidence does not support a causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism or inflammatory bowel disease.

Keywords: MMR; Measles-Mumps-Rubella; autism; inflammatory bowel disease; vaccine.