Measles can harm the immune system for up to three years, leaving survivors at a higher risk of catching other infectious and potentially deadly diseases, researchers said Thursday. It was previously known that measles could suppress the body’s natural defenses for months, but the findings in the journal Science show that the dangers of the vaccine-preventable disease last much longer, by wiping out essential memory cells that protect the body against infections like pneumonia, meningitis and parasitic diseases. “In other words, if you get measles, three years down the road, you could die from something that you would not die from had you not been infected with measles,” said co-author C. Jessica Metcalf, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs at Princeton University. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases of all.
Sometimes, we in the health profession are so behind in our protocols and knowledge base. This public health concern regarding measles has been around for more than a decade in popular culture; western medicine in the US and developed countries have for the most part has turned their heads away from this important health matter. Any individual with a child should be concerned about the current immunization refusal problem for this very reason–SSPE.
The single most important public health risk to pay heed to in the upcoming years is SSPE or Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis, a medical condition that ensues several years after a child come in contact with measles before being vaccinate. SSPE develops when the measles virus re-emerges in the body, and infects predominantly neurological tissue.
Historically, SSPE prevailed in parts of Europe where vaccinations for the disease were scarce. More recently, cases have erupted in developed countries, due to families with parents that refused to allow their children to have the measles vaccine, of due to exposure of their child under 1 years of age (vaccines are given to 1+ years old), to someone else’s child who has the measles due to lack of vaccination.
VIDEO (Educational): Emmalee Smith’s "The Measles: an Epic Movie". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6WT_BV-tjM
VIDEO. Oxford University: SSPE – A serious complication of Measles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB8kGwKZiq0
Medline’s page on SSPE: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001419.htm
The WHO Committee meetings on SSPE:
"Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis and measles vaccination
Committee reports". http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/measles_sspe/en/
These are my pages on SSPE:
Brian Altonen. "The Answer is Obvious: MMR or the possibility of SSPE ? Your choice."
My Tumblr on SSPE and a number of other Public Health concerns.
SSPE could become the news in the U.S. by 2020, with California or any of several places where measles outbreaks are having their effect the lead states in this potential and highly costly public health disaster. See http://www.scoop.it/t/an-episurveillance-researchers-guide/p/4037070036/2015/02/11/california-warns-against-intentional-measles-exposures
SSPE is placed next to an unfortunate outbreak of Poliomyelitis in children as the most costly, most debilitating, most deadly class of re-emerging diseases linked to childhood immunization refusals in the U.S..