Measles could give your
Immune system amnesia
Measle could suppress the immune system for years after infection
BOSTON — Scientists have found that measles is a lot more devastating to the immune system than previously thought.
According to the WHO, measles is a highly contagious airborne disease caused by a virus in the paramyxoviridae family.
Symptoms of a measles infection usually include a cough, fever, runny nose, and red eyes. A rash erupts on the face and neck after several days, and spreads to the rest of the body over the next three to four days.
The Guardian reports that the body has two key lines of immune response in dealing with viruses. Memory B-cells remember previous infections the body has had before and protects against them. Naive B-cells, meanwhile, defend against new infections.
A study published in the journal Science Immunology found that measles wipes out a substantial number of memory cells reduces the diversity of the naive b-cells.
This causes 'immune amnesia', where the immune system to forget how to respond to infections, leaving the body vulnerable to other diseases.
Another study published in Science looked at antibodies in the blood of unvaccinated children in the Netherlands before and after a measles infection.
They found that the measles destroyed 11 to 78% of the children's antibody memory bank.
According to the BBC, babies are born with limited antibodies that become more varied as they grow older.
Measles resets the immune system to an immature, baby-like state, with only a narrow range of antibodies to work with, and a limited ability to fight off new infections.
A way to avoid this is by getting the MMR vaccine, which eliminates the risk of catching a measles infection. Revaccination also helps with those whose immune system memories have already been ravaged by the disease.
Bottom line, please vaccinate your kids.
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