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Fever during pregnancy increases risk of autism in newborns

University of California, Davis researchers found that even a single fever episode in an expecting mother may more than double the risk of having an autistic child.

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Fever during pregnancy increases the risk of autism in newborns, says study. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Fever during pregnancy can increase the risk of autism in newborns, says a new study.

University of California, Davis researchers found that even a single fever episode in an expecting mother may more than double the risk of having an autistic child.

"Our study provides strong evidence that controlling fevers while pregnant may be effective in modifying the risk of having a child with autism or developmental delay," said lead author Ousseny Zerbo, a PhD candidate at UC Davis during the research, reported Health 24.

"We recommend that pregnant women who develop fever take anti-pyretic medications and seek medical attention if their fever persists."

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The study looked at data from the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study, which included 538 children with autism and 163 children with developmental delay, reported Medical Daily.

The survey tracked whether mothers had ailments such as the flu or fever during pregnancy.

The research found that while fever increased the risk of autism and developmental delay, simply having the flu did not.

However, anti-fever medication helped to mitigate those risks.

The study was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120524/fever-during-pregnancy-increases-risk-autism-newborns