Non-infected babies born to HIV mothers have reduced immunity to measles

October 18, 2012

Non-infected babies born to HIV positive mothers should be vaccinated early against measles, to avoid them acquiring the virus or passing it on to others.

A study published in the November issue of Acta Paediatrica found that even if babies are born without HIV, their maternally derived protection against measles may be impaired by their mother's positive .

"The eradication of measles is high on the agendas of the and other international agencies and it is important to define and target any new group of susceptible infants" says Dr Lars Smedman from the Department of Paediatrics at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

According to the World Health Organization, measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children. Complications of this highly contagious, serious disease can include , blindness, destructive ear infections, severe diarrhoea and related dehydration.

In 2010 there were 139,300 deaths globally, which equates to 380 a day or 15 an hour. However, in 1980, before widespread immunisation, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths a year. Immunisations have risen by 72% since 2000 and in 2010 about 85 per cent of the World's children received one dose of the by their first birthday.

Dr Smedman and colleagues compared samples from ten babies aged one to four months who were born to HIV mothers, but had not acquired the infection, to ten healthy babies born to mothers without HIV.

The mothers ranged from 26 to 35 years of age, were all immigrants and originated from Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, Kenya and Thailand. Their ranged from less than 20 to 8,870 and their CD4 cell counts from 237 to 754.

Nine gave birth by planned or emergency caesarean, with only one , and the of the babies ranged from 32 to 41 weeks.

"We used a new cell ELISA technique to demonstrate how the serum samples drawn from the infants would inactivate the measles virus" explains Dr Smedman.

"This found statistically significant differences between the maternal antibodies received by the two sets of babies and showed that the non-infected babies born to HIV positive mothers had weaker protection. This was because the antibodies normally produced by the mother to help protect her baby from measles had lost their sharp edge due to her HIV positive status.

"The results suggest that babies born to HIV mothers would not be able to neutralise the measles virus as effectively and would loose protection sooner than babies born to healthy mothers. These babies would therefore be much more likely to succumb to measles and, or, pass the virus on to other children, making their early immunisation vital."

Explore further: South Africa reports new success in saving newborns from HIV

More information: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10 … 012.02793.x/abstract

Related Stories

South Africa reports new success in saving newborns from HIV

July 19, 2012
About 117,000 babies were saved from HIV infection last year under South Africa's scheme to prevent mothers from passing on the disease during childbirth, health official said Thursday.

Drug combo much better than AZT alone at preventing mother-to-infant HIV transmission

June 20, 2012
Non-breastfed babies born to HIV-positive mothers who didn't receive antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy are routinely given zidovudine, commonly known as AZT, shortly after birth to prevent mother-to-child transmission ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests a way to stop HIV in its tracks

December 1, 2017
When HIV-1 infects an immune cell, the virus travels to the nucleus so quickly there's not enough time to set off the cell's alarm system.

Discovery puts the brakes on HIV's ability to infect

November 30, 2017
Viewed with a microscope, the virus faintly resembles a pineapple—the universal symbol of welcome. But HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is anything but that. It has claimed the lives of more than 35 million people so far.

Rising levels of HIV drug resistance

November 30, 2017
HIV drug resistance is approaching and exceeding 10% in people living with HIV who are about to initiate or reinitiate first-line antiretroviral therapy, according to the largest meta-analysis to date on HIV drug resistance, ...

Male circumcision and antiviral drugs appear to sharply reduce HIV infection rate

November 29, 2017
A steep drop in the local incidence of new HIV infections accompanied the rollout of a U.S.-funded anti-HIV program in a large East-African population, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district

November 29, 2017
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections ...

Research on HIV viral load urges updates to WHO therapy guidelines

November 24, 2017
A large cohort study in South Africa has revealed that that low-level viraemia (LLV) in HIV-positive patients who are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) is an important risk factor for treatment failure.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.