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February 1979

Increased Intracranial Pressure After Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Immunization

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of California at San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(2):217-218. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130020109023

There is a general tendency to under-report complications associated with immunizations.1 Part of the reason undoubtedly is related to the difficulty in proving cause and effect between the vaccine and the untoward response. However, if the complication occurs within 24 to 48 hours of administration of the vaccine in an otherwise well child, the association should arouse suspicion.

We wish to report a heretofore unrecorded neurological complication, a bulging fontanelle associated with increased intracranial pressure occurring within 24 hours of a diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) immunization. We also wish to suggest the possibility that this complication may be missed unless specifically looked for.

Report of a Case.—A 7-month-old infant was in her usual state of good health until 15 hours after receiving a DTP immunization, when a temperature of 38.9 °C developed. Nine hours later, while playing with the child, the mother, a nurse, and the father,