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Do Vaccinations Cause Autism?

Apr 30, 2002 | WISC

Here in Madison, as across the country, some parents say seizures and autism can be linked to the vaccines.

One Madison mom told News 3 she thinks the increase is due to a Mercury additive in some vaccines.

Children developing autism has gone up more than 500 percent in the past 10 years, News 3 reported.

"With my dreams, I'm just awake, and I just stare at something that is so pretty to me, and I just can't stop looking at it," said Johanna Freye, 7.

Johanna has been having those "dreams" for about two years.

Her mom says Johanna started acting different right after her booster shots.

"We took her in for her kindergarten check up, and she got her boosters, and it was right after that she started getting a little twitch in her head," Kathy Freye.

After a couple trips to the doctor, Johanna found her dreams were actually petit mal seizures. With no severe head trauma in Johanna's past, her mom had no idea what was causing them, but remembers when they started -- just days after getting her booster shots.

"There was an article on the similarities between many of the features of autism and many of the features of mercury poisoning," said Dr. John Bohn, pediatrician.

Thimerosa is made up of about 50 percent mercury, and thimerosa is found in about 50 vaccines around the country, News 3 reported.

Until two years ago, kids were receiving several vaccines including the additive. And even though no connection between thimerosa and autism and seizures has been found, many say it's good to play it safe.

"I think the best thing a parent can do is No. 1 educate themselves," Bohn said. "Be careful not to blame everything on the latest theory, but you can keep yourself up to date on it, because it is your child, and you're trying to get to the bottom of it."

Doctors warn parents that making sure your kids get their proper vaccines is of the utmost importance -- just ask your pediatrician if you have questions about them.

In the Madison area, the only vaccines still being used with the additive is the influenza vaccine and the shot pregnant mothers get to prevent RH disease.

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