A U.S. study found no link between the measles
vaccine and inflammatory bowel disease, contrary to British
research that raised fears about the vaccine's safety.
Immunization rates dropped in Britain following studies
published in 1995 and 1998 that implicated measles vaccines.
Dr. Robert L. Davis of the University of Washington, who led the
new study, said he hopes the research will boost public confidence
and help prevent measles outbreaks.
"Measles is a life-threatening disease that still endangers
children here and around the world," he said. "We don't want
parents failing to vaccinate their kids based on concerns that are
His study appears in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics &
It is based on data on 574 people, born between 1958 and 1989,
who belonged to four large health maintenance organizations. A
total of 142 of those studied had inflammatory bowel disease, which
includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation in the large intestine.
Crohn's is a chronic disease that usually causes inflammation in
the small intestine.
Childhood immunization with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine --
most commonly used in the United States--and other measles
vaccines did not raise the risk of developing inflammatory bowel
disease later in life.
The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and