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Babies Given Combo Vaccine Face Higher Same-Day Seizure Risk

Filed February 22nd, 2012 Julie

A new study out of Denmark contains disturbing information for parents: babies who got a single shot that included vaccines against tetanus and whooping cough were at a higher risk of having a fever-related seizure on the same day.

The seizures were still considered unlikely after the shots, and researchers say the children who got them did not stand a greater chance of developing epilepsy than those who weren’t vaccinated, as was suggested by some. The information might startle parents, initially, but one expert says the information should actually be reassuring.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about one in every 25 kids will have at least one fever-related seizure — short-lasting convulsions that don’t cause permanent damage. Such seizures are considered common among toddlers.

Earlier studies seemed to indicate that an earlier version of the pertussis vaccine caused fevers, increasing the chances of babies having a related seizure. Whether that risk had also applied to never versions in combined vaccines has never been fully understood.

Researchers are considering the possibility that babies who had a febrile seizure on the same day they have their shots might be more genetically prone to the seizures, indicating they might have had one sooner or later even if they hadn’t been vaccinated.

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