MMR Vaccines Do Not Cause IBD
The MMR vaccine is a live virus vaccine which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. In 1998, a group of British researchers suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and IBD. As a result, the relationship between the MMR vaccine and IBD has been of interest to researchers and families alike.
In opposition to the British study of 1998, there is actually strong scientific evidence to show there is no association between the measles vaccine and IBD. In fact, when the British study was originally published, there was an editorial published at the same time that expressed concerns about the validity of the study. A British Medical Officer later convened a meeting of the Medical Research Council and a group of national and international experts including the World Health Organization to review the British study.
These experts concluded that there was not enough evidence in the study to support a link between the measles vaccine and IBD. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and the idea was firmly planted in the minds of some.
In the last several years, numerous studies conducted both in the United States and abroad have failed to confirm the possible association between the measles virus and IBD. For example, in 2000, the Centers for Disease Control concluded that there was no evidence that a vaccination with MMR or other measles-containing vaccines, or the age of vaccination early in life, was associated with an increased risk for the development of IBD. Several other studies have followed with the same results.
While the causes of IBD are not known, there are several environmental factors which are associated with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (Read Tracy's post Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease for more information). However, the MMR vaccine isn't one of them. If you need additional information about the MMR vaccine, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-mmr.pdf.