Study links flu during pregnancy to increased autism risk



A new study from Denmark is getting a lot of attention. It found that having a fever or the flu for a week during pregnancy doubles the chances that child will be born with the autism.

Sounds scary, but ABC's Dr. Richard Besser says there's no need for alarm.

"If a mother reported having flu during pregnancy her risk of having a child with Autism increased from one percent to two percent. If she reported having a fever four seven days, the risk went from one percent to three percent. So while it's doubling or tripling, it's still very small."

The bottom line: researchers still don't know for sure what causes Autism.

Dr. Besser says women who had the flu when they were pregnant shouldn't worry but recommends that all pregnant women get a flu shot.

"We know that pregnant women are in the risk group who are doing to have the most severe flu. They should get the shot, but not the nasal spray because that can be dangerous. It will protect them and it will protect their own baby for six months."

Watch ABC News story with Dr. Besser