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Progress in Medical Sciences ISSN: 2577 - 2996

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Progress in Medical Sciences. 2022; 6(2):(78-109)

Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring Following Exposure to Maternal Fever during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ilana Leshtsinski, Ellen Wong, Fatma Etwel, Quenby Mahood, Mitko Madzunkov and Irena Nulman*

A systematic review and a meta-analysis were performed to assess the association between prenatal fever and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in exposed offspring. A total of 9 high quality studies were reviewed and meta-analysed. A positive association between fetal exposure to fever and subsequent ASDs was found. For first and second trimesters exposure, the odds ratio was 1.49 (95% CI; 116-1995) and 1.48 (95% CI; 1.22-1.80) respectively. When all nine studies were collapsed, the odds ratio was 1.238 (95% CI; 1.048- 1.462). Prenatal exposure to maternal fever was found to be associated with fetal neurotoxicity during critical windows of CNS development and increased risk for ASD. An association of prenatal fever with ASD in genetically predisposed women may aid in early diagnosis, prevention, and management.