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A deadly shadow: Measles may weaken immune system up to three years

The measles virus is known to cast a deadly shadow upon children by temporarily suppressing their immune systems. While this vulnerability was previously thought to have lasted a month or two, a new study shows that children may actually live in the immunological shadow of measles for up to three years – leaving them highly susceptible to a host of other deadly diseases.

Published in the journal Science, the study, led by researchers from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, provides epidemiologic evidence that measles may throw the body into a much longer-term state of “immune amnesia,” where essential memory cells that protect the body against infectious diseasesare partially wiped out.