A U.S. court has ruled that a vaccination for certain childhood diseases is not linked to autism, as claimed by parents of children who suffer from the brain disorder.

The special court in Washington ruled Thursday against the parents of three children, saying the families had failed to prove their claims.

The decision stems from a 2007 case during which the government argued that "good science" does not support claims that the vaccine mixture - which protects children against the measles, mumps and rubella - can lead to autism.

The ruling Thursday is a blow to at least 4,800 families who have filed similar claims and are seeking compensation through the government's "Vaccine Injury Compensation Program."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement saying the agency hopes the ruling will reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism.

Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have found no evidence linking the vaccine to the neurological disorder.

Autism affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.  There is no known single cause for the disorder.