"Measles" Wipes Your Immune System's Memory, So It Can't Fight Other Infections

Measles Wipes Your Immune System's Memory, Increasing Vulnerability To Other Dangerous Diseases

Measles Wipes Your Immune System's Memory, Increasing Vulnerability To Other Dangerous Diseases

As the number of measles cases rises in the U.S, research reveals a new way the disease can leave patients vulnerable to future infections.

Measles infections can wipe out a baby's immune system for up to 5 years - resetting it to a baby-love mutter, a detect suggests. The discoveries additionally fill in as an update that the current year's record-breaking measles flare-ups in the USA will have waiting impacts, Schaffner included.

Pneumonia affects one in 20 children with measles, while others suffer risky stomach bugs and one in ten get ear infections which can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Using a special blood test the researchers looked at the antibodies in children before and after natural infection with measles virus as well as in children before and after measles vaccination.

When Kula examined an initial set of these samples, he found a striking drop in antibodies from other pathogens in the measles-infected children that "clearly suggested a direct effect on the immune system", the authors said.

Prof Mina and colleagues found those who survive measles gradually regain their previous immunity to other viruses and bacteria as they get re-exposed to them.

As such, geneticist Stephen Elledge of Harvard Medical School told NPR we should think of the measles vaccine "like a seat belt for your immune system". However, precisely how post-measles immune suppression unfolds in humans is unknown. As a result, some Americans still view measles as relatively harmless-which, in addition to a unsafe uprising of anti-vaccine sentiment, has led some parents to decline shots for their children, contributing to a resurgence of preventable illness in the USA and overseas.

If parents elect not to vaccinate their children against measles, they are not only risking a one-time battle with a disease... they're also risking crippling their child's immune system and preventing them from fighting off diseases they had already built immunity against.

The findings explain why children often succumb to other infectious diseases after they have had measles and highlights the importance of getting vaccinated. "It's much more risky to children who get it, not only when they get it but for years afterwards".

The researchers sequenced antibody genes from 26 children, before and 40-50 days after their measles infection. "These two papers complement each other in an interesting way, and they both provide clues to help answer how measles causes immune damage".

After catching the virus, children lost between 11% and 72% of their total antibody diversity, indicating that measles had partially wiped their immune memory. Which cells in the body to have a yeast infection and used later, to create a new infection to deal with. Tomasz Kula, a postdoc in Elledge's lab, had developed a technology called VirScan that enabled the team to test the antibodies in the infected children's blood against antibody targets representing most known human pathogenic viruses.

This means that measles can effectively undo the protection provided by vaccines against other infections like flu or even tuberculosis - and measles outbreaks can thus cause spikes in other illnesses.

The measles virus is highly contagious and causes coughing, rashes and fever, and can lead to potentially fatal complications including pneumonia and encephalitis, leading to more than 100,000 deaths per year worldwide in unvaccinated communities.

Since measles figures have experienced a rebound in recent years due to the decline in vaccination - when both doses protect 99% against infection -, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a new The epidemic wave in countries such as the United Kingdom, Greece, Albania and the Czech Republic, this work is especially relevant. "Ultimately, the conclusions that can be drawn are very similar: Infection really skews the naive repertoire, and you could expect that that would have long-term, downstream consequences on immune memory", Mina says. For most of the population, this erasure is temporary, and after a few months, people recover lost antibodies. Some of the authors also serve as advisers to vaccine makers. "It's like taking somebody's immune system and rewinding time, putting them at a more naïve state", Mina says.

Follow-up animal research showed that measles reduced the level of flu antibodies in ferrets that had been vaccinated against influenza, the report said. "Hopefully these families will be willing to continue to be involved with the researchers", he says.

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