ATLANTA (AP) – 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.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.