Danish data shows measles vaccine halves child mortality rate

Christian Wenande
May 8th, 2015

This article is more than 8 years old.

Research shows that measles weakens the immune system

Child mortality rates would be twice as high without the measles vaccine, according to new US-Dutch research based on data collected from Denmark, the US and the UK.

The research – based on data from Denmark following the introduction of the MMR vaccinations in the 1980s and carried out in the US and the UK in the 1960s – found that the benefits of the vaccine are much greater than previously perceived.

“Immunosuppression after measles is known to predispose people to opportunistic infections for a period of several weeks to months. Using population-level data, we show that measles has a more prolonged effect on host resistance, extending over two to three years,” the report found.

The research – published in the scientific journal Science – concluded that during the time that measles was a typical illness it was directly and indirectly, due to it weakening the immune system, behind half of all child deaths.

The research documents that the vaccination has a protective effect against other contagious illnesses for a period of up to three years.

READ MORE: Parents using social media to expose their children to measles

Danish support
The research compares well to Danish research that has shown over the course of 30 years that the child mortality rate in Guinea-Bissau fell dramatically following its introduction of the measles vaccine program.

The Danish researchers contend that 6,500 children’s lives can be saved every day if the Guinea-Bissau experience is applied on a global scale.

The Danish research is now being continued at CVIVA, the research centre for vitamins and vaccines at the State Serum Institute.


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