No link between MMR jab and Crohn's disease

A research paper published in 1998, which claimed the MMR jab was in some way linked to autism and Crohn's disease, the inflammatory bowel disease, caused MMR vaccination numbers to fall across the country.

The majority of experts believe the vaccination to be safe and no substantial link has ever been proven.

Now researcher Dr Valerie Seagroatt, author of the latest study, who looked at 12 years of data on Crohn's disease, has found strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccine increases the risk of Crohn's disease.

Seagroatt's findings come as two other studies in the British Medical Journal claim the UK is in the middle of a mumps epidemic because too few children and young adults have been immunised against measles, mumps and rubella.

In this latest study Dr Seagroatt, a statistician at Oxford University, compared hospital admission rates for Crohn's disease among children and adolescents born either before or after routine MMR immunisation was introduced back in 1988, and she found no increase in Crohn's disease after the introduction of MMR.

This, says Seagroatt, provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that the MMR vaccine increases the risk of Crohn's disease.

Some parents have opted to protect their children against the three diseases using single vaccines, as used to be done before MMR was introduced, but Dr Seagroatt says the MMR vaccine is just as safe in this respect as the single measles vaccine.

According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, it has already been clearly established, in both epidemiological and virological studies, that the measles vaccine does not cause Crohn's disease and this study confirms that.

The MMR vaccination still remains the safest form of protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

The study is published in the British Medical Journal.

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