The effects of measles on the immune system of Nigerian children were investigated. At the time of the rash, skin tests to tuberculin purified protein derivative, candida, and streptococcal antigens were negative. Skin sensitization with dinitrochlorobenzene and lymphocyte transformation by phytohaemagglutinin were normal. Antibody response to the H and O antigens of Salmonella typhi was deficient. Established humoral response and serum immunoglobulin levels were normal.
Immunosuppression induced by the measles virus, sometimes acting synergistically with immunosuppression due to malnutrition, may contribute to the high prevalence of serious complications seen after measles in tropical developing countries.
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