New research has found that the measles virus could suppress the immune system, making it impossible to fight other diseases
In the U.S. alone, records show that there have been about 1,250 cases of the measles virus since the beginning of the year. Health experts say that this year, the U.S. witnessed the largest outbreak of measles since 1994. It was, however, revealed that the increase in number is mostly due to the fact that many families have refused to vaccinate their kids.
Health experts have reported that the disease has resurfaced in different places around the world that were thought to be measles free. They have also attributed this to the refusal of parents to vaccinate their children, claiming that the disease is only an irksome childhood illness that can be endured. The new research shows that skipping the measles vaccine exposes a child to a highly contagious disease. For those who survive an initial attack, their vulnerability to all kinds of infections increases for a long time after recovery.
Referring to what happened in the 1960s when the measles vaccine was introduced in the United States, the research explains that the vaccine fortifies the immune system against other diseases. Before the introduction of the vaccine, the rate of child mortality was high in the U.S. The numbers, however, dropped when children began to take the vaccine. The same thing happened in other places where the vaccine was introduced. The question was why did this happen?
The new research shows that measles damages the immune system by wiping out its memory of previously encountered antigens, leaving the patient vulnerable to disease and infection. But when the vaccine is taken, the disease does not harm the immune system’s memory. That means that the immune system will fight diseases like it is supposed to.
According to the study which was released on Thursday, the landscape of the child’s immune system changes after exposure to measles. The immune cells that are designed to recognize new pathogens do not respond as they should after recovering from measles. This translates into a weaker immune response.