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Colds may thwart vaccines.

Colds may thwart vaccines

In recent years, physicians have observed an increase in the number of children who develop measles despite vaccination against the disease. Three Army pediatricians now offer a possible explanation for some of these vaccination failures: cold-like infections in the children when they were immunized.

Marvin S. Krober of the Madigan Army Medican Center in Tacoma, Wash., and his co-workers studied 98 infants who received a measles-mumps-rubella vaccination at 15 to 18 months of age. Of the 47 fever-free children who had cold-like symptoms at the time of vaccination, 10 (21 percent) failed to develop measles antibodies, they report in the April 24 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION. In contrast, only one (2 percent) of the 51 healthy infants never developed the beneficial antibodies.

Such failures may result from the body's attempt to battle existing infections by producing virus-fighting proteins called interferons, the researchers suggest. In an accompanying editorial, George Peter of Brown University in Providence, R.I., notes that other studies support this idea, but he argues against delaying immunizations in children with minor upper-respiratory infections. Too few children receive immunizations as it is, he says, and even in this study, the vast majority of cold sufferers developed protective antibodies.
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Title Annotation:failure of measles vaccinations of children caused by cold-like infections
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 27, 1991
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