Encephalopathy after MMR?

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is effective in preventing diseases. The downside is that the vaccine is a risk for encephalopathy, which refers to any acute or chronic acquired abnormality of the brain, injury to the brain or impairment of brain function.

Symptoms of encephalopathy may include: alterations in state of consciousness or behavior, convulsions, headaches and/or focal neurologic deficits.

The first time it was reported that encephalopathy happened after a measles vaccine was in 1967, according to Trump and White. Following the vaccination, a 2-year-old girl developed unsteadiness, which was followed by pronounced generalized ataxia (diagnosed as cerebellar ataxia), fever, vomiting and an exanthema. The ataxia was persistent for at least eight months. Investigators attributed the condition to the measles vaccination.

Over the years, several reports of encephalopathy following the measles vaccination can be found in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Yet, although there are several reports of encephalopathy following measles vaccines of various strains, no conclusive evidence of the occurrence of encephalopathy resulting from administration of the measles vaccine was identified.

So, it is concluded that the evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a casual relation between MMR and encephalopathy.


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