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The risk of febrile seizures following MMR vaccination is very small and short-term, even in children at increased seizure risk, according to a Danish study of more than 530,000 patients.

Researchers found the risk of seizures was 2.75 times higher than normal in the two weeks after vaccination, but then subsided.

MMR did not increase the longer-term risk of seizures in children with other risk factors such as family history of convulsions or low birthweight, and did not increase the risk of epilepsy, according to a report in JAMA (July 21).

Previous research also reported a very small increase in seizure risk, but had not excluded the possibility the risk might be higher in at-risk individuals.

Researchers at the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre looked at the incidence of febrile seizures in a large cohort of children vaccinated with MMR between 1991 and 1999, in order to assess whether seizure risk was particularly high in at-risk children.

The study backed current guidance that the benefits of MMR outweighed the risks in children with a family history of convulsions.

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