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Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2013 Apr;30(2):268-74.

[Addressing the controversy regarding the association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Análisis y Generación de Evidencias en Salud Pública, Instituto Nacional de Salud, Lima, Perú


Vaccination is one of the most important public health interventions in the reduction childhood morbidity and mortality. Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound used as preservante in multi-dose vials. Often in Peru, there are waves of controversy about the safety of this type of vaccines, mainly arguing that there is an association between them and autism. As a result of these controversies, there have been some voices asking for laws banning thimerosal-containing vaccines, which would have a large impact in costs and the logistic aspects of the public vaccination programs. The aim of this article is to review the literature for the main controversies about thimerosal in vaccines and its supposed association to autism. We made an historical review about these controversies given the available scientific evidence and the statements from important international organizations. We concluded that the current available evidence do not support an association between thimerosal and childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.

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