Measles wipes out some of the immunity to other diseases that children acquire through vaccinations and infections, leaving them more vulnerable to illness for months and even years afterward, two new studies published Thursday report.

The findings help explain why countries that start to vaccinate children against measles see pediatric death rates drop substantially, beyond just the decrease that would be expected with the prevention of measles deaths.

The first paper, published in Science, showed that children infected with measles lost between 11% and 73% of their antibodies after infection. The authors, from Harvard University, noted the children studied had been healthy and well-nourished before contracting measles, and the impact on malnourished children in parts of the developing world is likely greater still.

CDC / Cynthia S. Goldsmith & William Bellini, PhD

Read more at STAT…