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Vaccine Combo linked to Increased Seizure Risk for Toddlers

Update Date: Jun 10, 2014 01:19 PM EDT

According to a recent study, researchers discovered that a new combination vaccine option increased young children's risk of fever-induced seizures. The single jab vaccine in question protects against four infections, which are the measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, more commonly known as the chickenpox. The researchers reported that children who received this vaccine, called the Priorix-Tetra in Canada were two times more likely to have a fever-induced seizure in comparison to children who received the traditional MMR and varicella vaccines separately.

For this study, the researchers headed by Shannon MacDonald, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada examined data on nearly 278,000 children from Alberta. The children were between the ages of 12 and 23-months. All of them had either received the MMRV vaccine or the traditional MMR vaccine and the varicella vaccine during the same day.

The researchers discovered that overall the children's seizure rate peaked roughly seven to 10 days after they were vaccinated. The team calculated that there were nearly six seizures for every 10,000 doses of the MMRV vaccine. The seizure per dose rate fell to two out of every 10,000 in children who received the vaccines in two shots. The seizures were not considered dangerous and the risk of having a seizure is extremely low. The researchers stressed the importance of getting young children vaccinated.

"Get your child vaccinated," Dr. Nicola Klein, who led the 2010 ProQuad study in the U.S. stressed. The ProQuad study examined the effects of receiving the MMRV vaccine called ProQuad in the U.S. on toddlers. "We're in the middle of a 20-year high in measles cases."

MacDonald added, according to WebMD, "There's no question children should be vaccinated."

The study, "Risk of febrile seizures after first dose of measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine: a population-based cohort study," was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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