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Tech & Science Infection amnesia: Measles 'destroys immune system memory'

21:45  31 october  2019
21:45  31 october  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Immune Amnesia : How Your Immune System Forgets to Fight. One of the most unique -- and most dangerous -- features of measles pathogenesis is its Immune -mediated destruction of memory T cells and B cells is initiated, and memories of past infections are destroyed along with them.

Getting measles is even more dangerous than doctors had realised, because it destroys immunity that the victim has acquired to other diseases, researchers They show for the first time how measles - one of the most contagious diseases - resets the human immune system back to an immature state

a cup on a counter: FILE PHOTO: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle© Reuters/Lindsey Wasson FILE PHOTO: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Getting measles is even more dangerous than doctors had realized, because it destroys immunity that the victim has acquired to other diseases, researchers said on Thursday.

The findings help to explain why children often catch other infectious diseases after having measles, and underscore the dangers of growing resistance to childhood vaccination in some countries, according to two studies published simultaneously.

Researchers may finally know what's causing the mysterious polio-like illness in kids

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Getting measles is even more dangerous than doctors had realized, because it destroys immunity that the victim has acquired to other diseases, researchers said on Thursday. The findings help to explain why children often catch other infectious diseases after having measles

"The ( measles ) virus is much more deleterious than we realized, which means the vaccine is that much more valuable," Elledge said. For this research, the two teams looked at a group of unvaccinated people in the Netherlands to find out what measles does to the immune system .

They show for the first time how measles - one of the most contagious diseases - resets the human immune system back to an immature state like a baby's, with only limited ability to fight off new infections.

The findings have implications for public health globally, since a decline in trust in vaccines, and so in vaccination rates, is leading to outbreaks of measles - which in turn can allow a resurgence of other dangerous diseases such as flu, diphtheria and tuberculosis.

"This ... is a direct demonstration in humans of 'immunological amnesia', where the immune system forgets how to respond to infections encountered before," said Velislava Petrova of Britain's Wellcome Sanger Institute and Cambridge University, who co-led one of the studies.

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“The ( measles ) virus is much more deleterious than we realized, which means the vaccine is that much more valuable,” Elledge said. For this research, the two teams looked at a group of unvaccinated people in the Netherlands to find out what measles does to the immune system .

Measles not only weakens your immune system in the short term, bouts with the virus seem to wipe your immune system 's memory , causing the body to forget how to fight off things that you may have already conquered. For some people, this so-called immune amnesia may linger for months to years

a white sign with black text: FILE PHOTO: Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during news conference on measles outbreak in New York© Reuters/Shannon Stapleton FILE PHOTO: Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during news conference on measles outbreak in New York

Stephen Elledge, a geneticist and researcher at the U.S. Howard Hughes Medical Institute who co-led the second study, said its results constituted "really strong evidence that the measles virus is actually destroying the immune system".

The measles virus causes coughing, rashes and fever, and can lead to potentially fatal complications including pneumonia and an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis.

Measles can be prevented with two doses of a vaccine that has proven safe and effective and has been in use since the 1960s, but World Health Organization (WHO) experts warned three weeks ago of an "alarming upsurge" of cases in pockets of unvaccinated people in all regions of the world.

a person standing in front of a building: FILE PHOTO: Signs warn people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg© Reuters/Shannon Stapleton FILE PHOTO: Signs warn people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg

In the first three months of this year, the number of cases quadrupled from the same period in 2018, WHO data show.

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Getting measles is even more dangerous than doctors had realized, because it destroys immunity that the victim has acquired to other diseases They show for the first time how measles – one of the most contagious diseases – resets the human immune system back to an immature state like a

Results from the second study found that measles infection destroyed between 11% and 73% of the children's protective antibodies - the blood proteins that "remember" past encounters with viruses and help the body avoid Measles deletes your memory cells to essentially reset your immune system .

"The (measles) virus is much more deleterious than we realized, which means the vaccine is that much more valuable," Elledge said.

For this research, the two teams looked at a group of unvaccinated people in the Netherlands to find out what measles does to the immune system.

In one study, they sequenced antibody genes from 26 children, before and then 40 to 50 days after measles infection, and found that specific antibodies that had been built up against other diseases had disappeared from the children's blood.

Results from the second study found that measles infection destroyed between 11% and 73% of the children's protective antibodies - the blood proteins that "remember" past encounters with viruses and help the body avoid repeat infections - leaving them vulnerable to infections they had previously been immune to.

(By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent, Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Arctic critters are sneezing on each other like never before .
Arctic critters are sneezing on each other like never beforeThe study started with something unexpected. Back in 2004, researchers observed phocine distemper virus—a highly contagious disease related to measles and canine distemper—in a population of North Pacific sea otters. Until that moment, says marine animal health researcher Tracey Goldstein, she and her team thought PDV was confined to the Atlantic. But they knew a population of North Atlantic harbor seals had suffered an outbreak two years earlier, and suspected there might be a connection.

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