Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

A little bit of measles does you good

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7201.4 (Published 03 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:4

Is Measles Vaccine a Marker for Better Preventive Health Care

The hypotheis that measles immunisation provides nonspecific immune
stimulation sufficient to decrease mortality from other diseases is
interesting. However, I don't really believe the studies have ruled out
the more likely explanation that measles immunisation is just a marker for
other socioculturally determined health seeking behaviours. The fact that
similar effects are not seen for other vaccines does not exclude measles
immunisation from being correlated with health seeking behaviours. Measles
vaccination is different to other vaccines - in its timing and it is often
associated with national campaigns (including in some of the studies Dr
Shann references). Are there any data that rules out the confounding
effect of sociocultural determinants?

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 July 1999
Craig Dalton
Director
Hunter Public Health Unit