Dozens of children die in Syria after tainted vaccines

Despite rumors of sabotage, health experts believe that it was a bad batch of vaccines.
By Aileen Graef | Sept. 17, 2014 at 9:48 AM

ALEPPO, Syria, Sept. 17 (UPI) — At least 36 children are dead after receiving tainted measles vaccines at U.N. clinics Monday night in the rebel-held region of Syria.The children were injected with the vaccines before quickly falling ill and dying in what was described as an “excruciating” manner. The program has been shut down since rumors of sabotage spread throughout the country to prevent the worsening of the civil war’s death toll from the outbreak of measles.

“It’s very bad. The figures of dead we are getting go into the 30s. Children are dying very quickly,” Daher Zidan, the coordinator of the medical charity Uossm, told The Telegraph. “We think it will get worse.”

Health experts say it was likely a contaminated batch of vaccines and a major setback to an effort praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to vaccinate 1.6 million children.

Local governments are investigating the incident to find out how the two batches were tainted.

Continue reading “Dozens of children die in Syria after tainted vaccines”

Autism May Be Caused By An Immune System Response To Measles: Only Autistic Children Had Brain Autoantibodies

Re-Posted at Request 1998 Study..I hope this helps

Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan rossflan@umich.edu 734-647-1853 University of Michigan

Autism May Be Caused By An Immune System Response To A Virus

ANN ARBOR—Antibodies found in the blood of autistic children suggest that at least some cases of autism are caused by a misguided immune response, triggered by exposure to a virus, researchers in the University of Michigan’s College of Pharmacy report.

The researchers found that autistic children who had been exposed to certain viruses in the past showed unusually high levels of antibodies to brain proteins, suggesting an autoimmune response.  Their findings appear in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects brain function, interfering with reasoning ability, imagination, communication, and social interaction.  Children with autism start talking later than other children, and when they do speak, their communication skills are extremely limited.  They often avoid looking at other people and don’t learn to read others’ faces for signs of emotion or other cues.  These children typically are unable to play creatively, and some engage in repetitive, sometimes self-destructive, behavior, such as rocking, hand flapping or head-banging.

No single cause of autism has been found, and researchers believe that genes and environmental factors (such as viruses or chemicals) both may contribute.  The kinds of brain abnormalities found in people with autism suggest that the disorder arises when something disrupts normal brain development.

One possibility is that early exposure to a virus prods the body into mounting an immune response that somehow goes awry.  In addition to producing antibodies against the virus, the body makes antibodies against itself, resulting in damage to tissues and organs.

This “autoimmune” response is what happens in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and some researchers think a similar response may account for the brain abnormalities found in people with autism.

It was this possibility that U-M researchers Vijendra Singh and Victor Yang and undergraduate student assistant Sheren Lin investigated.  In their study of 48 autistic children and 34 normal children and adults, the researchers measured levels of antibodies to two viruses—measles virus and human herpesvirus-6—in the subjects’ blood.  These antibodies were chosen because they are often used in research on known autoimmune diseases, says Singh, the principal investigator of the project and an assistant research scientist in the College of Pharmacy.

The researchers also measured levels of two brain autoantibodies (antibodies to brain tissue).  One, anti-MBP, is an antibody to myelin basic protein, a protein found in the protective sheaths around nerve fibers in the brain.  The other, anti-NAFP, is an antibody to neuron-axon filament protein, a protein that makes up the nerve fibers themselves.

Virus antibody levels were essentially the same in autistic and non-autistic subjects, as the researchers expected.  But the majority of autistic children who had virus antibodies also had brain autoantibodies.  The higher the level of virus antibodies, the more likely an autistic child was to have brain autoantibodies.  None of the non-autistic subjects had brain autoantibodies.

The strongest link found in the autistic children was between measles virus antibodies and anti-MBP, suggesting that exposure to the measles virus may trigger an autoimmune response that interferes with the development of myelin, says Singh.  If myelin in the brain doesn’t develop properly, nerve fibers won’t work as they should.  This could be one way that the brain abnormalities associated with autism arise.

The question of how exposure to measles virus occurs raises a controversial issue.  Parents of children with autism often report that the children started showing signs of the disorder shortly after being immunized with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine, but no scientific studies have shown a link between vaccines and autism.  In the U-M study, almost all the subjects had had MMR immunizations, and none had ever had a case of measles.  It is possible, however, that some might have been infected with measles virus but never developed symptoms of measles, says Singh.

###Contact:  Nancy Ross-Flanigan University of Michigan 412 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1399 Phone:  (734) 647-1853 rossflan@umich.edu

Study finds acute measles supresses HIV replication

Contact: Tim Parsons or Ming Tai paffairs@jhsph.edu 410-955-6878 Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Study finds acute measles supresses HIV replication

Replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is briefly suppressed during acute measles, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A study of HIV-infected children living in Zambia found that HIV levels in the blood were significantly lower while having measles compared to HIV-infected children who did not have measles. The researchers say the only other illness previously reported to suppress HIV is O. tsutsugamushi, which causes scrub typhus. The study appears in the  April 15, 2002 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

“We were surprised by these findings, because we expected to see HIV replication increase, not decrease with measles,” says the study’s lead author William Moss, MD, MPH, assistant research professor of international health and molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Measles is a very immunosuppressive virus. It results in many secondary infections and is a major cause of death among children. Our findings show that measles also triggers intense immune system activation that temporarily suppresses HIV,” explains Dr. Moss.

For the study, Dr. Moss and his colleagues followed 93 children diagnosed with measles and HIV at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.  The children’s HIV levels were measured from blood samples taken when they were admitted to the hospital for measles treatment. More samples were taken when the children were discharged from the hospital, and again one month later. They were compared with samples taken from HIV-infected children who did not have measles or other illnesses and with samples from children with measles, but not HIV.

The study found that 33 of the children diagnosed with measles and HIV had a median HIV level of 5,339 copies per milliliter when they first entered the hospital for treatment. The HIV levels increased to 60,121 copies per milliliter when measured at the time of discharge and to 387,148 copies per milliliter one month later. HIV-infected children who did not have acute measles had a median HIV level of 228,454 copies per milliliter.

The researchers also noticed that the CD8 T-cell level, which is an indicator of immune system response, was elevated in the children with both measles and HIV compared to children in the control groups. The increase in the CD8 level occurred during the same time as the suppression of HIV levels.

“More research will be needed with a larger study group to fully understand how measles suppresses HIV and activates the immune system, but our findings may provide clues to understanding both HIV pathogenesis and immunity,” says Diane Griffin, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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“Suppression of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Replication during Acute Measles,” is published in the April 15, 2002 edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases and was written by William J. Moss, Judith J. Ryon, Mwaka Monze, Felicity Cutts, Thomas C. Quinn, and Diane E. Griffin.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, and from the Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines and Pediatrics Young Investigators Award in Vaccine Development of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

For more information, visit the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health online at www.jhsph.edu

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