Abating Mercury Exposure in Young Children Should Include Thimerosal-Free Vaccines
- José G. Dórea
- Neurochemical Research
AIM Brazilian newborns immunized with hepatitis-B (thimerosal containing vaccine, TCV) receive the first dose within 24 h if delivered in public hospitals, but at a later time if born in private hospitals. We compared neurodevelopment (ND) in infants born in a state hospital (immunized within 24 h) and in privately run hospitals (immunized 2-4 days postnatally). METHODS We used the Gesell Developmental Schedules in 82 healthy exclusively breastfed infants at 6 months to assess motor skills, language development, comprehension capacity and social skills. RESULTS Compared to the group immunized 2-4 days after hospital discharge, the group immunized within 24 h showed no significant difference in ND delays. Despite the variation in gestational age (range 36-42 weeks) and TCV-ethylmercury (EtHg) dose (5.7-11.3 microg Hg/kg b.w.) at birth, time of exposure to TCV showed no significant association with ND. Gesell Developmental Score was not significantly correlated with total parenteral EtHg/unit of body mass neither with the relative increase in hair-Hg (as an additional challenge to prenatal Hg exposure). CONCLUSION In breastfed infants, differences in early exposure to TCV-EtHg cannot portend clinical neurodevelopment delays at 6 months. We speculate that breastfeeding remains a significant strategy to improve central nervous system protection of infants facing early exposure challenges.