Measles-induced immune amnesia

Measles is no trifling childhood disease. The virus is extremely contagious, and measles infection can have severe complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, brain damage, and death. Now, a recent study published in Science suggests that measles can also leave children more vulnerable to other pathogens for as long as two to three years after infection.

Mass measles vaccination is known to be associated with a general reduction in childhood mortality. In every country where it has been introduced, it has been followed by a decrease in the number of childhood deaths, not just from measles, but also from other non-measles infectious diseases.

Why is that? How can a vaccine designed to protect you from measles also protect you from other infectious diseases? Continue reading