In DepthImmunology

How measles causes the body to ‘forget’ past infections

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Science  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6465, pp. 560-561
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6465.560

Summary

One of the most contagious human pathogens, the measles virus is dangerous enough by itself, with sometimes-fatal complications including pneumonia and brain inflammation. Two detailed studies of blood from unvaccinated Dutch children who contracted measles now reveal how such infections can also compromise the immune system for months or years afterward, causing the body to "forget" immunity it had developed to other pathogens in the past. To what extent this "immune amnesia" increases illness and death from other infections isn't clear. But the results are another good reason to immunize children against the virus and other infectious diseases, the study authors say.

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