‘Hepatitis B shot doesn’t raise multiple sclerosis risk’

September 26th, 2008 - 1:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) Most of the children immunised against hepatitis B are not at an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), but those who received a certain type of the vaccine are, according to a new study. The France based study involved 349 children with MS and 2,941 healthy children, all under 16. A total of 24.4 percent of them with MS were vaccinated for hepatitis B in the three years before the study, compared to 27.3 percent for the children without MS.

Although the study found that hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, the children with MS were 1.74 times more likely to have received a certain type of hepatitis B vaccine, called Engerix B.

Those children with MS developed symptoms three or more years after the vaccine. The risk was only found for this specific type of hepatitis B vaccine and not found for all vaccines against hepatitis B.

This association cannot be taken as confirmation that the vaccine caused MS. Further studies are needed to determine whether this is a causal relationship, according to a statement by the American Academy of Neurology. The findings will be published in the October online issue of Neurology, the journal of the academy.

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