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Vaccinations Not Associated With Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Researchers find no link between common vaccinations in adults and increased RA risk

WEDNESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- There does not appear to be any association between routine vaccinations in adults and an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online July 5 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Camilla Bengtsson, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues examined data on 1,998 individuals with RA (ages 18 to 70) and 2,252 healthy controls. They compared those who had received routine vaccinations, such as for flu and tetanus, within five years of disease onset with those who had not been vaccinated.

The researchers found no association between vaccination and risk for RA overall, and no association between vaccination and antibodies to citrullinated peptide (ACPA)-positive or ACPA-negative disease, both major subgroups of RA. There was also no association between vaccination and risk for RA in two groups with established RA risk factors: smokers and carriers of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope alleles.

"In this case-control study of incident cases of newly diagnosed RA, no increased risk of RA following immunization was observed for vaccinations overall or for any specific vaccination. This indicates that immunological provocation of adults with commonly used vaccines in their present form carries no risk of RA. These findings should be implemented among public health care providers in order to encourage vaccinations according to recommended national vaccination schedules," the authors write.

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