Kids who get measles can be more likely to come down with other diseases than children who are immunized against measles.
Measles can erase the immune system’s memory of how to fight other diseases such as flu, strep, or mumps, according to two studies.
Two research papers, one headed by Harvard University and the other headed by the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK, found that unvaccinated children in a community in the Netherlands were left with lower amounts of antibodies after contracting measles. The affected children lost on average 20 percent of their antibodies, with some losing over 70 percent of their immunity against specific bugs.
The loss of antibodies means that after measles, unvaccinated children can become vulnerable to diseases they had already been exposed to in the past. It can take months or years for the body to rebuild immunity.
However, there was no loss in antibodies among those who were vaccinated and those who were unvaccinated but did not contract measles.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. It is especially dangerous to infants and children.
In recent years, the number of measles cases have risen dramatically, especially in unvaccinated communities. There have been 1200 measles cases so far this year, the most since 1992.
The new research highlights the importance of vaccination. It is crucial to be vaccinated for measles since it protects against not only measles itself but also other infectious diseases.