Who is at Highest Risk for Getting Measles?
Persons most at risk for developing measles are poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or those whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.1 Crowded living conditions can also put people at high risk of contracting measles, even in highly-vaccinated populations.2 3
The vaccine acquired immunity that most mothers pass on to their infants has been found to be much lower and shorter acting than those produced following natural measles infection, placing these infants at higher risk for measles infection. 4 5 6 7 Children vaccinated prior to the waning of maternal measles antibodies may also be at risk of measles. Published research has determined that vaccination in the presence of maternal antibodies can reduce the effectiveness of the measles vaccine, even after boosting with additional vaccine doses.8
IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Measles and the Measles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.
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1 WHO Measles. May 9, 2019
2 Biellik RJ, Clements CJ. Strategies for Minimizing Nosocomial Measles Transmission. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Bull World Health Organ. 1997; 75(4): 367–375.
3 Markowitz LE, Preblud SR, Orenstein WA, et al. Patterns of Transmission in Measles Outbreaks in the United States, 1985-1986. N Engl J Med 1989; 320:75-81.
4 Niewiesk S Maternal Antibodies: Clinical Significance, Mechanism of Interference with Immune Responses, and Possible Vaccination Strategies Front Immunol. 2014; 5: 446.
5 Waaijenborg S, Hahné SJ, Mollema L et al. Waning of maternal antibodies against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella in communities with contrasting vaccination coverage. J Infect Dis. 2013 Jul;208(1):10-6
6 Zhao H, Lu P-S, Hu Yali, et al. Low Titers of Measles Antibody in Mothers Whose Infants Suffered from Measles before Eligible Age for Measles Vaccination. Virology 2010, 7:87.
7 Papania M, Baughman AL, Lee S et al. Increased susceptibility to measles in infants in the United States. Pediatrics. 1999 Nov; 104(5):e59.
8 Niewiesk S Maternal Antibodies: Clinical Significance, Mechanism of Interference with Immune Responses, and Possible Vaccination Strategies Front Immunol. 2014; 5: 446.