Hepatitis B Vaccine Linked to Onset of Diabetes

WebMD Health News
June 13, 2000

Faced with an ever-growing list of required and recommended vaccinations for children — as well as occasional reports of safety problems linked to vaccines — many parents understandably feel confused. No doubt adding to that confusion are reports that the vaccine against hepatitis B, a blood-borne illness that can cause liver cancer, may actually lead to the development of type 1 diabetes in children.

Type 1 diabetes is the form where the body doesn?t make the insulin it needs. An Italian study presented here at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association suggests that children who get the hepatitis B vaccine are at greater risk for developing type 1 disease than those who have never been vaccinated. On the basis of their research, Paolo Pozzilli, MD, and colleagues say doctors should exercise caution in giving the vaccine to children who have close relatives with type 1 diabetes.

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