Court finds no link between vaccines, autism

A lower court's findings rejecting a causal connection between childhood vaccines and the onset of autism have been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The ruling, LegalTimes reports, came in Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The cases was the first in a series of test cases the the special masters for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims heard in 2007.

Several of the test cases were picked by the claims court to test different theories of causation advanced in the approximately 5,000 cases filed under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 that allege a link to autism.

"We see no legal error in the standards applied by the special master," the court wrote, LegalTimes reports, in determining that no causal connection existed between a mercury-based preservative used in the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine Michelle Cedillo received in 1995 and the subsequent autism and retardation symptoms she showed afterward.

"Michelle's development was indeed very abnormal," but not immediately after administration of the vaccine, Judge Timothy Dyk wrote for a three judge federal circuit panel, LegalTimes reports.

Dyk concluded that the special master's report on the Cedillo case was "rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated, and reasonable."

A similar ruling was issued in May by the federal circuit in Halehurst v. HHS, another of the autism test cases.