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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2005 May;16(3):193-200.

Does childhood immunization against infectious diseases protect from the development of atopic disease?

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Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases (EPAR) Department, INSERM, INSERM U 472, Villejuif Cedex, France.


The argument of whether early immunization against infections promotes allergy or protects from it is presently under debate. The relationship between childhood immunization and the development of atopic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema) was examined in a population-based sample of 718 adolescents by taking individual data drawn from personal paediatric records on the schedule and the type of vaccination into account. Atopic diseases were determined using a standardized questionnaire. After adjustment for sex, age, father's socioeconomic status and active smoking, adolescents having been vaccinated (n = 694) had a significant lower risk to suffer from asthma or atopic diseases than non-vaccinated adolescents did (n = 24) [odds ratio (OR) = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.92]. The relationship did not depend on the disease against which the vaccine was used as prophylaxis, the observance of the vaccination schedule or the number of inoculations. A higher protection was observed in the case of live attenuated vaccines (oral poliomyelitis and bacilli Camille-Guerin; OR = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.83). These results, in agreement with previous ecological data, support the hypothesis that early vaccines could promote Th1 proliferation in response to the infectious agent contained in it, which inhibits the enhancement of atopic manifestations. Further studies are needed to confirm the phenomenon.

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