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Research suggests a possible link between flu during pregnancy and childhood autism.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, included nearly 100,000 Danish children between the ages of 8 and 14, whose mothers had suffered a common mild infection, prolonged febrile episodes, and had used antibiotics during pregnancy.
Approximately 1% of the children had an autism spectrum disorder, of which almost half had autism.
Overall, no significant evidence was found on the relationship between various types of common mild infectious diseases during pregnancy and childhood autism or autism spectrum disorders.
However, the data suggest that maternal flu was associated with a two-fold increased risk of childhood autism. Prolonged episodes of fever were associated with a three-fold increased risk of childhood autism, and the use of certain antibiotics, such as sulfonamides, was also associated with a slightly higher chance of having a child with autism / childhood autism spectrum disorders.
Based on the possible link between the mother's flu and the child's autism, the study authors recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated as a precaution.
However, the trial authors cautioned that due to the methodological limitations of the work, additional research is required for ratification.