NEWS

Tenn. infant illnesses are linked to parents declining standard vitamin K shot for newborns

11/14/2013 04:59 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
ATLANTA - Health officials are reporting four Tennessee cases of a rare infant illness that have been linked to parents refusing a routine shot for newborns.

The four Nashville-area infants suffered brain or stomach bleeding earlier this year. Their parents had declined vitamin K shots, which have routinely been given to newborns since 1961. The shots improve blood clotting and prevent internal bleeding. All four children were treated with vitamin K and survived.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the illnesses were the first tied to parents opting out of the shots; reports of vitamin K deficiency are rare. The CDC said the parents cited a belief that the shots weren't necessary or cause leukemia. Officials say neither is true.

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Online:

CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr

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