Turns out the measles vaccine prevents much more than measles
The measles vaccine provides benefits beyond merely protecting against that highly contagious viral respiratory disease that remains a leading childhood killer in parts of the world, scientists say.
By blocking the measles infection, the vaccine prevents measles-induced immune system damage that makes children much more vulnerable to numerous other infectious diseases for two to three years, a study published on Thursday found.
The research focused on a phenomenon called "immune amnesia" in which the measles infection destroys cells in the immune system, the body's natural defense against disease-causing microbes, that "remember" how to fend off previously encountered pathogens.
Prior research had suggested "immune amnesia" lasted a month or two. The new study, based on decades of childhood health data from the United States, Denmark, England and Wales, showed the measles-induced immune damage persisted on average for 28 months.
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