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Combo Vaccine Increases Risk of Seizure Among Toddlers, Study Finds

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In recent months it seems that just about everyone has been defending vaccinations. But it might be hard to defend a newer “combo” vaccine designed to take on four types of infection at once. According to a new report, that vaccine actually increases the risk of fever-induced seizure among young children.

The vaccine targets measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (better known as chickenpox). Traditionally, the varicella vaccine has been given separately, with measles, mumps, and rubella combined (and known as an MMR shot).

However, Canadian health researchers have found that children given the vaccine targeting varicella and MMR were twice as likely to develop a fever-related seizure as children who got their varicella and MMR shots separately.

This isn’t the first time red flags have been raised over MMR and varicella (sometimes known as MMRV) combo vaccines. Four years ago a U.S. study showed similar results.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the odds of a child suffering a MMRV-induced seizure are extremely small. And even if that occurs, experts say the seizure is rarely dangerous.

In fact, Dr. Nicola Klein, who has studied the MMRV shot in the past, says it’s much, much wiser for parents to give their kids the MMRV shot than forego vaccination altogether. After all, the health effects of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella are far more serious than the rare seizures associated with MMRV.

“Get your child vaccinated,” Klein said. “We’re in the middle of a 20-year high in measles cases.”

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