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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 20, 2024  1 month, 4 days, 20 hours, 13 minutes ago

Measle News: Measles Infections Can Lead To Immune Amnesia Which Can Be Disastrous With The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic!

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Measle News: Measles Infections Can Lead To Immune Amnesia Which Can Be Disastrous With The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 20, 2024  1 month, 4 days, 20 hours, 13 minutes ago
Measles News: In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, another formidable adversary has reared its head - measles. Often considered a childhood disease of the past, measles has resurged, presenting not only the immediate risks associated with its symptoms but also a hidden danger known as "immune amnesia." This Measles News report delves into the intricate details of measles transmission, its symptoms, the unique characteristics of immune amnesia, and the implications for global health, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Measles Causes Immune Amnesia
 
Current Situation
At the moment while the world is facing a worrisome COVID-19 surge driven by the JN.1 variant and its emerging sub-lineages, with many countries not only facing exponential caseloads but also increased hospitalizations and also ER admissions that are threatening the existing public healthcare infrastructures, we are also hearing of outbreaks of measles infections in various geolocations. Countries in Europe like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden and even in North America, Canada and the United States are all witnessing sporadic measles outbreaks in various geolocations.
 
However, many governments and health authorities are not willing to divulge the real cause of these measles outbreaks due to political correctness or fear of being accused of bigotry. Almost all of the outbreaks so far are stemming for Muslim individuals and communities refusing to vaccinate their children against measles due to their religious aversion against vaccines! As result, not only are they spreading measles among their communities like what is happening at the moment in Birmingham-UK, but they are also passing it on to other non-Muslim communities.
 
Measles Transmission and Symptoms
Measles, caused by the highly contagious measles virus (MV), stands out for its ability to infect 90% of unvaccinated individuals in a room exposed to the virus. The virus spreads through aerosol droplets and can linger in the air for up to two hours, contributing to its rapid transmission. The typical symptoms of measles, including fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, Koplik spots, and rash, manifest 10-12 days after exposure. While most cases are self-limiting and require palliative care, serious complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death can occur, particularly in children under 5 years old.
 
Immune Amnesia - Unveiling the Hidden Threat
A significant and unique threat associated with measles is the phenomenon of immune amnesia. This revelation emerged from studies demonstrating that MV has the ability to replace existing memory cells in the immune system with new, MV-specific lymphocytes. This process leaves individuals with robust immunity to measles but significantly compromises their defenses against other pathogens.

The mechanism behind immune amnesia involves the measles virus infecting memory T-cells, memory B-cells, and naive B-cells of the immune system. The virus spreads through the body, destroying memory cells responsible for recognizing and fighting off previously encountered pathogens. The consequences are profound - pre-existing immune memory cells are erased, and a surge of new lymphocytes with only measles-specific memory is generated, rendering the individual susceptible to secondary infections.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciimmunol.aay6125
 
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03324-7
 
https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1009071
 
https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1002885
 
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2021.2013078
 
How the Measles Virus Causes Immune Amnesia - Mechanisms
Measles virus (MV) initiates infection by merging with the plasma membranes of host cells in a receptor-dependent fashion. Upon entry into the respiratory tract, its primary targets are alveolar macrophages within the lungs. These specialized immune cells, tasked with engulfing and neutralizing foreign substances such as dust, bacteria, and viral particles, feature a crucial membrane glycoprotein known as Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule (SLAM). This glycoprotein serves as the high-affinity cellular receptor for MV.
 
Exploiting SLAM, MV seamlessly fuses with the plasma membrane, evading destructive phagocytosis. This allows the virus to release its genetic material and replication machinery directly into the host cell cytoplasm. Instead of succumbing to immediate destruction upon contact, the hijacked macrophages play a role in the virus's strategy. They transport copies of the virus directly to the nearest lymph nodes, facilitating its dissemination.
 
The journey of infected macrophages continues to lymphatic tissues, where the virus encounters the immune system's memory cells, namely memory T-cells and B-cells. These cells function as adept reconnaissance agents, identifying foreign invaders through antigen detection and generating long-lived memory cells for future protection. In the event of a subsequent encounter, these memory cells mount a more rapid and robust immune response against the pathogen than during the initial exposure.
 
Significantly, both memory T-cells and B-cells feature SLAM surface receptors. Research findings indicate that MV efficiently binds to and infects these crucial immune cells, along with naive B-cells. Once infection takes hold, the virus disseminates throughout the body by budding from the infected cells. The clearance of MV necessitates the elimination of virally-infected lymphocytes.
 
The elimination process involves immune-mediated destruction of memory T-cells and B-cells, leading to the eradication of memories associated with past infections. This intricate interplay between the measles virus and the immune system underscores the profound impact of MV on the immune memory landscape, potentially leaving the individual susceptible to a range of infections due to the loss of vital immune memories.
https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1001263
 
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07515-0
 
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00925.x
 
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879625720300699
 
https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/14/12/2641
 
Duration of Immune Amnesia
Research indicates that the duration of measles-induced immune amnesia is substantial, lasting around 2-3 years post-measles infection. During this period, individuals experience a significant decrease in the diversity of memory T-cells and B-cells. The qualitative change in recovered lymphocyte populations underscores the severity of the impact, leaving the host with a compromised immune system that takes years to recover.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aaa3662
 
https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/227/1/133/6619609
 
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2022.896086/full
 
Prevention and Correction
Fortunately, vaccination against measles has proven highly effective in preventing not only measles but also the detrimental effects of immune amnesia. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is 97% effective at preventing measles after two doses, contributing to a greater than 99% reduction in disease in the United States. The global increase in measles cases, however, emphasizes the need for widespread vaccination to curb the resurgence of this highly contagious disease.
 
Measles' Global Impact and Its Link to COVID-19
Measles outbreaks are on the rise globally, posing a significant challenge to public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 300% increase in measles cases in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year. Various countries, including Madagascar, Brazil, India, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Venezuela, have faced substantial outbreaks. The situation has become a global crisis, prompting discussions about individual and collective susceptibilities to measles infection.
 
Moreover, the interplay between measles and the COVID-19 pandemic raises concerns.
 
Studies indicate that measles-induced immune amnesia could compromise individuals' immune responses to other infections, including COVID-19. Measles outbreaks following COVID-19 vaccine rollouts may undermine herd immunity and lead to a resurgence of coronavirus cases. This highlights the importance of comprehensive vaccination strategies to protect against multiple infectious threats simultaneously.
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2021.0153
 
The Long-Term Impact and Potential Re-Vaccination
The long-term impact of measles-induced immune amnesia extends beyond the immediate infection, affecting populations for years. The recovery period for the immune system to regain its diversity and strength is a crucial aspect of public health. The increased risk of illness and death from other pathogens following measles outbreaks emphasizes the importance of vaccination not only for preventing measles but also for safeguarding broader immunity.
 
Measles' Global Impact and Public Health Strategies
The resurgence of measles poses a dual threat to global health, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges are multifaceted, requiring a comprehensive approach to vaccination and public health strategies. The increase in measles cases globally underscores the urgency of addressing vaccination gaps, misinformation, and hesitancy.
 
Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation
Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation contribute significantly to the resurgence of measles. Public health campaigns must target these issues, providing accurate information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Education initiatives should engage communities, address concerns, and emphasize the broader societal benefits of vaccination in preventing not only measles but also the associated risks of immune amnesia.
 
The Role of Healthcare Providers
Healthcare providers play a crucial role in promoting vaccination and dispelling myths surrounding measles and its consequences. Continuous education within the healthcare community is essential to ensure accurate information is disseminated to patients. Additionally, healthcare providers should actively engage with vaccine-hesitant individuals, address their concerns, and highlight the long-term benefits of maintaining a robust immune system through vaccination.
 
Global Cooperation for Comprehensive Vaccination
Global cooperation is paramount in the fight against measles and the associated risks of immune amnesia. Collaborative efforts should focus on equitable access to vaccines, especially in regions facing challenges in vaccine distribution. International organizations, governments, and non-governmental entities must work together to implement vaccination programs that reach all populations, leaving no one vulnerable to the dual threats of measles and compromised immunity.
 
Conclusion
Measles, once considered a vanquished foe, has resurged, posing a dual threat to global health alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The immediate risks associated with measles symptoms are compounded by the insidious threat of immune amnesia, compromising individuals' defenses against a myriad of pathogens. Addressing this multifaceted challenge requires a concerted effort in vaccination, public health strategies, and global cooperation.
 
The world must prioritize comprehensive vaccination programs, dispel vaccine hesitancy, and ensure equitable access to vaccines for all. The role of international organizations, governments, healthcare providers, and communities is pivotal in safeguarding global health. The lessons learned from the resurgence of measles underscore the interconnectedness of infectious diseases and the importance of maintaining robust immune systems through vaccination. In this era of global health challenges, a unified and proactive approach is essential to mitigate the impact of measles and protect against the broader threats posed by compromised immunity.
 
For the latest Measles News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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