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Measles Infection Boosts Immune System, Suppresses HIV Levels in Children with Both Conditions, Study Shows
Measles infection may suppress HIV levels by temporarily boosting immune response in children who are infected with both viruses, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of the
Journal of Infectious Diseases, Reuters reports. Dr. William Moss and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined 93 children in Zambia who were infected with both HIV and the measles virus. The children with both diseases had
higher-than-normal CD8 T-cell counts, an indicator of immune response, and the elevated T-cells coincided with a decrease in blood levels of HIV. The children's HIV levels returned to previous levels after they recovered from measles. Moss said that the researchers were "surprised" to see that measles infection stimulated the immune system and suppressed HIV levels, because measles is typically associated with suppression of the immune system. "[Measles] results in many secondary infections and is a major cause of death among children," Moss said. The only other infection that has been shown to suppress HIV is scrub typhus (Reuters, 4/16).
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