Vaccine May Have Role in Dravet Onset; Does Not Cause Disease

Pertussis vaccination may trigger earlier onset of the disease but does not affect outcome
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Pertussis vaccination may cause an earlier onset of Dravet syndrome in children who are destined to develop the disease because of a mutation, but the vaccine does not appear to affect outcomes and there is no reason to withhold it, according to research published online May 5 in The Lancet Neurology.

Anne M. McIntosh, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues analyzed the medical and vaccination records of 40 patients with Dravet syndrome who had mutations in SCN1A to investigate a theoretical association between vaccination and the onset of seizures. The researchers separated the patients into two groups: those who had seizures less than two days after vaccination and those whose seizures occurred two or more days after vaccination or before vaccination.

The children who had seizures within two days had a mean age of 18.4 weeks at seizure onset, while those in the other group had a mean age of 26.2 weeks. The researchers found that there were no differences in intellectual outcome, seizure type or genetic mutation type between the two groups.

"Vaccination might trigger earlier onset of Dravet syndrome in children who, because of an SCN1A mutation, are destined to develop the disease. However, vaccination should not be withheld from children with SCN1A mutations because we found no evidence that vaccinations before of after disease onset affect outcome," the authors write.

Three study authors have served as consultants to Bionomics, which has licensed testing of the SCN1A gene. Authors also disclosed ties to Athena Diagnostics, UCB, and Janssen-Cilag.

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