"Post-Infective Measles Syndrome" :) Measles Significantly Weakens the Immune System for Years

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
A recent blog indicated that having a cytomegalovirus infection dramatically altered the way the immune system functions. It has to adapt to keep the CMV virus in check - and it stays changed throughout one's life.
Now a study indicates that the measles viruses induces immune suppression long after (at least three years) the virus has been taken care of.

In fact, the immune suppression caused by the measles is so dramatic that preventing measles by using measles vaccines results in reduced death rates for a couple of years afterwards.

Children who get measles essentially get set up for problems from other infectious diseases for the next couple of years. It brings to mind the repeated infections some people with ME/CFS or FM get prior to getting ill and how they may have set them up for the "big fall".

"In other words, reducing measles incidence appears to cause a drop in deaths from other infectious diseases due to indirect effects of measles infection on the human immune system. At the population level, the data suggests that when measles was rampant, it may have led to a reduction in herd immunity against other infectious diseases."
Scientists have long known that the measles virus can temporarily weaken a child's immune system, making them more vulnerable to a number of other diseases. But instead of this effect lasting 1 or 2 months, a new study finds it could persist for up to 3 years.

The measles virus may weaken children's immune systems for up to 3 years after infection, making them vulnerable to a number of other diseases.
"We already knew that measles attacks immune memory, and that it was immunosuppressive for a short amount of time. But this paper suggests that immune suppression lasts much longer than previously suspected," says study co-author C. Jessica Metcalf, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs at Princeton University, NJ.

There has been much focus on measles of late. Though the virus was declared eliminated from the US in 2000, the number of measles cases in the country has started to rise. Last year saw 644 measles cases reported - the highest number since elimination - and this year has seen 169 cases reported so far.
The recent measles epidemic in the US has been primarily attributed to lack of vaccination against the virus. A Spotlight from Medical News Today in February investigated the issue, finding that many people remain concerned about the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which may be deterring parents from getting their children vaccinated.

Metcalf and colleagues say their study, recently published in the journal Science, highlights the importance of the measles vaccine, stating that it could also protect against an array of other diseases.

"It is one of the most cost-effective interventions for global health," says lead study author Michael Mina, a former postdoctoral research at Princeton who is now a student at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.


Mina says he was inspired to pursue this latest study after he came across a study by researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, which demonstrated strong links between the measles virus and a reduction in immune memory cells.

That study showed that the measles virus attacks and destroys T cells, or T lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell in the immune system that protects against diseases by remembering foreign bodies that have crossed its path.

The research showed that while the T cells return in around 1 month, they only fight off the measles virus, almost ignoring all other pathogens they previously confronted.
 

Merry

Well-Known Member
Measles was the most acute illness I've ever had. I don't know if "acute" as a medical term implies severity, but that's what I mean to convey. I was out of my head with high fever. I must've been about 5 years old.

Although I date my falling chronically ill to when I was 16, I have thought about signs that suggested something was not quite right long before that. I had thrush when I was 7. I recall sore throats that were slow to heal. I had pain in my legs and, later, spine. My digestive problems were, according to my mother, life-long. So my ME/CFS was definitely insidious onset rather than sudden.

But measles had never been part of the narrative I constructed. Thanks for the information, @Cort.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Measles was the most acute illness I've ever had. I don't know if "acute" as a medical term implies severity, but that's what I mean to convey. I was out of my head with high fever. I must've been about 5 years old.

Although I date my falling chronically ill to when I was 16, I have thought about signs that suggested something was not quite right long before that. I had thrush when I was 7. I recall sore throats that were slow to heal. I had pain in my legs and, later, spine. My digestive problems were, according to my mother, life-long. So my ME/CFS was definitely insidious onset rather than sudden.

But measles had never been part of the narrative I constructed. Thanks for the information, @Cort.
Wow...you sound like you may have been ME/CFS waiting to happen...the life-long digestive problems are really interesting...
 

Get Our Free ME/CFS and FM Blog!



New Threads

Forum Tips

Support Our Work

DO IT MONTHLY

HEALTH RISING IS NOT A 501 (c) 3 NON-PROFIT

Shopping on Amazon.com For HR

Latest Resources

Top