Measles Vaccine Safe, Effective in HIV Patients For at Least 1 Year: Presented at IDSA

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TORONTO, CANADA -- October 16, 2006 -- Patients who have human immunodeficiency virus infection should be offered measles vaccinations if an outbreak erupts, doctors said here at the 44th annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

"Recent outbreaks of measles in adults in Mexico have raised the question of safety and efficacy of measles vaccine in HIV-infected adults," said Pablo Belaunzaran, MD, infectious disease specialist, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias y Nutricion, Salvador Zubiran, Mexico.

Dr. Belaunzaran and colleagues recruited 26 patients with HIV infection and 25 normal controls. All were vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

After 3 months, 84% of patients with HIV exhibited specific antibodies against measles compared with 86% of subjects who did not have HIV. Dr. Belaunzaran said the differences after 3-months were not statistically significant (P = .59).

After 1 year, 26 of HIV-positive patients and 21 of HIV-negative were again studied. At his time, 30% of HIV-positive patients showed antibodies to measles compared with 81% of HIV-negative patients. That difference reached statistical significance at the P = .002 level, Dr. Belaunzaran said in his poster presentation on October 13th.

"Measles vaccine was effective at 3 months," he said. "However, humoral response was not maintained at 1 year of follow-up with HIV infected subject."

Dr. Belaunzaran said that because cellular immunity remained unchanged in both groups, it is possible that the HIV-positive patients still retain protection against measles. Of those whose cellular immunity responses were elicited, 66.7% of 24 HIV-positive patients exhibited cellular responses at 1 year compared with 44% of 16 HIV-negative patients (P = .6).

This study indicates that HIV-positive patients with high levels of CD-4 positive cells -- the average in his HIV cohort was 496 cells/mL -- should receive regular measles vaccinations.

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