Measles saps kids’ ability to fight other germs
WASHINGTON (AP) — New research shows yet another reason to vaccinate children against measles. After a bout of measles, youngsters are more vulnerable to other germs such as flu or strep.
It turns out the measles virus erases much of the immune system’s memory of prior infections, hampering its ability to quickly react if those germs return. Scientists dubbed the startling findings “immune amnesia.”
Harvard researchers tested blood samples of unvaccinated Dutch children that were taken before and after a measles outbreak. After recovering from measles, the kids’ previous immunity to other germs plummeted. British researchers supported the findings, concluding measles essentially returns the immune system to a baby-like state.
There’s some evidence it could take years to rebuild those defenses.
The research was published Thursday in the journals Science and Science Immunology.