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New Study Finds No Link Between ASD and Flu Infections During Early Pregnancy

Past studies have suggested there may be a link between viral infections contracted during pregnancy and the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children. However, a new study involving 45,000 pregnant women who were either infected with the flu during their pregnancy, or received a flu vaccination in the final trimester, did not find associations between the occurrence of ASD in children and exposure to the flu virus in vitro.

New research is focusing on the possibility of a connection between ASD and multiple infections during the course of a pregnancy, as well a possible link with flu vaccination in early trimesters.


Atladottir HO, Thorsen P, Ostergaard L, Schendel DE, et al. Maternal infection requiring hospitalization during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorders. J. Autism Dev Disord. 2010 Dec;40(12):1423-30.

Zerbo O, Qian Y, Yoshida C, et al. Association Between Influenza Infection and Vaccination During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Nov 28. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.3609. [Epub ahead of print]

Zerbo O, Qian Y, Yoshida C, Grether JK, et al. Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Dec;45(12):4015-25.