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Nutr Rev. 1982 Jul;40(7):203-5.

Severity of measles in malnutrition.

[No authors listed]



Malnourished children experience more severe measles infections at a greater frequency than well nourished children. In Africa, the mortality rate for measles infection is 25-50% in infants and young children with edematous malnutrition. There is some evidence that the altered immune responses of malnourished people permit widespread viral infection. A recent study by Whittle et al investigated the immune response of malnourished children to measles in order to define the cellular basis of severe viral infection in nutritional deficiency. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from well-nourished and malnourished Nigerian children were compared. Significantly more virus was found in the cultures of cells from malnourished children as opposed to well-nourished controls, with a negative correlation between virus yield and log serum albumin level. The production of interferon from the mononuclear cells of the 2 groups did not differ significantly, leaving unexplained the increased yield of virus by cells of malnourished children. The more extensive viral invasion of tissues and widespread inflammation and cell death in malnourished children infected with measles may contribute to the generation of more complexes and consequent immunosuppression, in turn resulting in secondary infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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