Call for measles immune boost for babies

Experts say babies exposed to measles should be injected with antibodies to temporarily boost their immunity.

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Health Protection Agency (HPA) researchers have said that babies exposed to measles should be injected with antibodies to temporarily boost their immunity. The advice also suggests lowering the age at which the MMR vaccine can be given in an outbreak to six months.
Cases of measles in England and Wales rose by 36% in 2008, largely in children who were not fully vaccinated with the MMR.
The HPA wrote in Archives of Diseases in Childhood, that mothers now have vaccine-mediated immunity to measles rather than natural immunity, therefore protection in babies is less than it was.
By four to five months of age, only 25-45% of babies now have protective levels of measles antibodies.
Public confidence on the triple MMR vaccine dipped following research, which has since been discredited, which raised the possibility that the jab may be linked to an increased risk of autism.
Experts say that MMR uptake needs to hit 95% for herd immunity, but in England and Wales, uptake of the first of the two vaccine courses are still only 85%.

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