Study links flu during pregnancy to autism

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Researchers in Denmark teamed up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their results may have found a link between mothers who have the flu during their pregnancy and an increased risk of autism.

According to ABC News, mothers in the study who reported having the flu during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism.

Nearly 97,000 children between the ages of eight and 14 who were born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003 were the focus of the study which was published in the journal of Pediatrics.

The bottom line? The study suggests pregnant women should get their flu shots. It might not prevent autism, but it will prevent the flu.

The study also showed an increased risk of autism if the mother used an antibiotic called macrolides.

One thing to note, however, is that the Dutch study relied on reports from the mothers and not actual medical records, so the link is not definitive. It should also be noted that while the study says the risk is increased, only one percent of the children in the study were actually diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

One professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York told ABC News that blaming the mother for an illness she had while pregnant was "destructive" when that illness could have little to nothing to do with the child's condition.

To read more on what the CDC has to say about pregnancy and the flu, click here.