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Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

We conducted a nested case-control study including 407 cases and 2,075 frequency matched controls to investigate the association between maternal infections during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cases, controls, and maternal infections were ascertained from Kaiser Permanente Northern California clinical databases. No overall association between diagnoses of any maternal infection during pregnancy and ASD was observed [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 1.15, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.92-1.43]. However, women with infections diagnosed during a hospital admission (ORadj = 1.48, 95 % CI 1.07-2.04), particularly bacterial infections (ORadj = 1.58, 95 % CI 1.06-2.37), were at increased risk of delivering a child with ASD. Multiple infections during pregnancy were associated with ASD (ORadj = 1.36, 95 % CI 1.05-1.78).

Authors: Zerbo O; Qian Y; Yoshida C; Grether JK; Van de Water J; Croen LA

J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Dec;45(12):4015-25.

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