In Context

    • Nearly 20 million infants missed their first dose of the Measles vaccine in 2020 as the global vaccination rate fell from 86 per cent in 2019 to 84 per cent, according to UNICEF.
      • Immune amnesia caused by measles is a more worrying concern.

    About Measles

    • Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. Despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, measles remains an important cause of death among young children globally.
      • It can also lead to serious adverse outcomes such as blindness, pneumonia and encephalitis.
    • It is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.
    • It is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. 
      • The virus infects the respiratory tract, then spreads throughout the body.
    • It is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
    • The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s. 
      • It is safe, effective and inexpensive. 
      • WHO recommended immunization for all susceptible children and adults for whom measles vaccination is not contraindicated.

    Immune Amnesia

    • Immune amnesia means the contagious infection can wipe out the immune system’s memory of other illnesses. 
    • The children who recover from measles may become susceptible to other pathogens they may have had protection from before they had the measles virus.
    • It was discovered in 2012 and it explains why the unvaccinated, once infected with measles, have long-term immune suppression and heightened susceptibility to unrelated infections.

    Source: DTE