Children receive effective measles protection by double vaccination.
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Measles can cause dangerous complications and can even be fatal. But that's not all: once the infection has survived, the immune system can be affected for months, even years, because measles viruses erase parts of the so-called immune memory. As a result, the body's defenses are then less well prepared for other diseases. Whoever is vaccinated should not be afraid.
A UK study found that the immune system of 10 to 15 percent of measles children was significantly weakened until five years later. Scientists at the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have now come up with the puzzle of discovering why it is more common for measles infections to be accompanied by other infections such as the middle ear or pneumonia.
The researchers studied the immune cells responsible for producing the antibodies. From these cells, the so-called memory cells migrate through the body after surviving the infection, which subsequently recognize the re-infection and lead to the rapid elimination of the pathogen. So next time, don't suffer from an illness of two or less seriously. In about ten percent of people who were exposed to measles infection, these memory cells were largely lost and there were more immature immune cells.
Researchers were also able to show this in an animal experiment: They vaccinated ferrets with the flu and then infected some animals with the measles virus (canine bleeding virus). These animals lost most of their antibodies to the flu, and when they later became infected with the flu viruses, they became more severely infected with the flu compared with the animals without surviving canine infection – although all animals were initially vaccinated against the flu.
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