Risk of hospitalization because of aseptic meningitis after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in one- to two-year-old children: an analysis of the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project

S Black
H Shinefield
P Ray
E Lewis
Robert T. Chen
John W. Glasser
Steven Hadler
Janet R. Hardy, University of Massachusetts Medical School
P Rhodes
E Swint
Robert L. Davis
R Thompson
J Mullooly
Michael Marcy
C Vadheim
J Ward
S Rastogi
R Wise

Document Type Article


OBJECTIVE: To assess the level of increased risk, if any, of hospitalizations for aseptic meningitis after Jeryl-Lynn mumps strain measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in the Vaccine Safety Datalink population.

STUDY DESIGN: A possible increased risk of aseptic meningitis 8 to 14 days after receipt of MMR was observed in a preliminary screening analysis of automated data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project Year 2 analysis. To further evaluate this association a retrospective 10-year matched case-control study was undertaken in the four health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in the VSD project. Cases ascertained from a broad scan of the automated data were validated against a standard case definition. Two controls matched on age, sex, HMO and HMO membership were assigned per case.

RESULTS: The VSD project involves the cooperative collection of automated vaccination and medical outcome data from four large HMOs that currently have 500,000 children younger than 7 years of age under surveillance. Review of automated screening results from the first 2 years of data revealed a possible increased risk of aseptic meningitis 0 to 14 days after MMR with a relative risk of 3.61 (95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 13.1) although the total number of cases was small. Although the automated data had suggested a possible association of aseptic meningitis with MMR containing the Jeryl-Lynn strain of mumps, review of validated hospitalized cases during the observation period did not reveal evidence of an increased risk of aseptic meningitis after MMR containing the Jeryl-Lynn strain of mumps (odds ratio < 1.0 for all analyses).

CONCLUSION: Although it is recognized that hospitalized cases represent a minority of the total cases of aseptic meningitis, it is reassuring that in this evaluation no increased risk of aseptic meningitis after MMR vaccine was found.