Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Rubella


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. Some anecdotal reports suggest that ASD is related to exposure to ethyl mercury, in the form of the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and/or receiving the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. Using infant rhesus macaques receiving thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) following the recommended pediatric vaccine schedules from the 1990s and 2008, we examined behavior, and neuropathology in three brain regions found to exhibit neuropathology in postmortem ASD brains. No neuronal cellular or protein changes in the cerebellum, hippocampus, or amygdala were observed in animals following the 1990s or 2008 vaccine schedules. Analysis of social behavior in juvenile animals indicated that there were no significant differences in negative behaviors between animals in the control and experimental groups. These data indicate that administration of TCVs and/or the MMR vaccine to rhesus macaques does not result in neuropathological abnormalities, or aberrant behaviors, like those observed in ASD.

Concepts: Brain, Vaccine, Autism, Pediatrics, MMR vaccine, Measles, Rubella, Mumps


On April 10, 2017, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) was notified about a suspected measles case. The patient was a hospitalized child aged 25 months who was evaluated for fever and rash, with onset on April 8. The child had no history of receipt of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and no travel history or known exposure to measles. On April 11, MDH received a report of a second hospitalized, unvaccinated child, aged 34 months, with an acute febrile rash illness with onset on April 10. The second patient’s sibling, aged 19 months, who had also not received MMR vaccine, had similar symptoms, with rash onset on March 30. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) testing of nasopharyngeal swab or throat specimens performed at MDH confirmed measles in the first two patients on April 11, and in the third patient on April 13; subsequent genotyping identified genotype B3 virus in all three patients, who attended the same child care center. MDH instituted outbreak investigation and response activities in collaboration with local health departments, health care facilities, child care facilities, and schools in affected settings. Because the outbreak occurred in a community with low MMR vaccination coverage, measles spread rapidly, resulting in thousands of exposures in child care centers, schools, and health care facilities. By May 31, 2017, a total of 65 confirmed measles cases had been reported to MDH (Figure 1); transmission is ongoing.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Epidemiology, Patient, Illness, MMR vaccine, Measles, Rubella


This case-control study investigated the relationship between the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) onset, and early exposure to the combined Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and thimerosal consumption measured from vaccinations in the highly genetically homogenous Japanese population.

Concepts: Vaccine, Vaccination, Autism, Autism spectrum, Measles, Rubella, Thiomersal


Vaccine refusal can lead to renewed outbreaks of previously eliminated diseases and even delay global eradication. Vaccinating decisions exemplify a complex, coupled system where vaccinating behavior and disease dynamics influence one another. Such systems often exhibit critical phenomena-special dynamics close to a tipping point leading to a new dynamical regime. For instance, critical slowing down (declining rate of recovery from small perturbations) may emerge as a tipping point is approached. Here, we collected and geocoded tweets about measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and classified their sentiment using machine-learning algorithms. We also extracted data on measles-related Google searches. We find critical slowing down in the data at the level of California and the United States in the years before and after the 2014-2015 Disneyland, California measles outbreak. Critical slowing down starts growing appreciably several years before the Disneyland outbreak as vaccine uptake declines and the population approaches the tipping point. However, due to the adaptive nature of coupled behavior-disease systems, the population responds to the outbreak by moving away from the tipping point, causing “critical speeding up” whereby resilience to perturbations increases. A mathematical model of measles transmission and vaccine sentiment predicts the same qualitative patterns in the neighborhood of a tipping point to greatly reduced vaccine uptake and large epidemics. These results support the hypothesis that population vaccinating behavior near the disease elimination threshold is a critical phenomenon. Developing new analytical tools to detect these patterns in digital social data might help us identify populations at heightened risk of widespread vaccine refusal.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Mathematics, Vaccine, United States, Smallpox, Measles, Rubella


Seven to ten days after a first dose of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV; i.e., MMR or MMRV), children have elevated fever risk which can be associated with febrile seizures. This study investigated individual and familial factors associated with fever 7-10days after MCV.

Concepts: Malaria, Vaccine, Influenza, Pediatrics, MMR vaccine, Measles, Rubella, Mumps


In the United States, children receive 2 doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and varicella vaccine (V), the first between ages 1 to 2 years and the second between ages 4 to 6 years. Among 1- to 2-year-olds, the risk of febrile seizures 7 to 10 days after MMRV is double that after separate MMR + V. Whether MMRV or MMR + V affects risk for febrile seizure risk among 4- to 6-year-olds has not been reported.

Concepts: Neurology, Epilepsy, Pediatrics, Measles, Rubella, Vaccines, Febrile seizure, MMRV vaccine


BACKGROUND: Children are susceptible to mercury toxicity, and mercury has immunomodulatory effects. Lower folate and B-12, and higher homocysteine may represent susceptibility cofactors. A large proportion of variability in rubella immune response is attributable to environmental factors. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the interaction between total blood mercury (Hg) and nutritional and homocysteine status on rubella virus antibody concentrations. DESIGN: Cross-sectional data on rubella IgG antibody concentrations, Hg, homocysteine, methylmalonic acid (MMA, an indicator of B-12 deficiency), and folate were obtained from 2003-2004 NHANES for children aged 6-11years with rubella seropositivity (n=690). Linear regression was used to evaluate relationships between log-transformed rubella concentrations and Hg, stratified by sex, MMA≥, folate<, and homocysteine≥sample medians, adjusted for demographic and nutritional cofactors. RESULTS: Hg was significantly positively associated with rubella antibody concentrations (β=0.24; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.11, 0.38) in children with higher MMA, lower folate and higher homocysteine (n=110), yet inversely associated among all other children (β=-0.18; 95% CI=-0.34, -0.03) (n=580). Among the former, estimates (β) were positive across all Hg quartiles relative to the lowest (Q1) (Hg<0.30μg/L): Q2: β=0.23 (-.10, 0.56); Q3: β=0.35 (0.13, 0.57); Q4: β=0.53 (0.21, 0.84); P(trend)<0.01. CONCLUSION: Findings are consistent with previously reported associations between Hg and measles antibody concentrations, and highlight the importance of considering dynamics between toxicant exposures, pathogens and host susceptibility.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Vaccine, Immunology, Econometrics, Vitamin B12, Measles, Rubella


In the 1970s, Stella Chess found a high prevalence of autism in children with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), 200 times that of the general population at the time. Many researchers quote this fact to add proof to the current theory that maternal infection with immune system activation in pregnancy leads to autism in the offspring. This rubella and autism association is presented with the notion that rubella has been eliminated in today’s world. CRS cases are no longer typically seen; yet, autistic children often share findings of CRS including deafness, congenital heart defects, and to a lesser extent visual changes. Autistic children commonly have hyperactivity and spasticity, as do CRS children. Both autistic and CRS individuals may develop type 1 diabetes as young adults. Neuropathology of CRS infants may reveal cerebral vasculitis with narrowed lumens and cerebral necrosis. Neuroradiological findings of children with CRS show calcifications, periventricular leukomalacia, and dilated perivascular spaces. Neuroradiology of autism has also demonstrated hyperintensities, leukomalacia, and prominent perivascular spaces. PET studies of autistic individuals exhibit decreased perfusion to areas of the brain similarly affected by rubella. In both autism and CRS, certain changes in the brain have implicated the immune system. Several children with autism lack antibodies to rubella, as do children with CRS. These numerous similarities increase the probability of an association between rubella virus and autism. Rubella and autism cross many ethnicities in many countries. Contrary to current belief, rubella has not been eradicated and globally affects up to 5% of pregnant women. Susceptibility continues as vaccines are not given worldwide and are not fully protective. Rubella might still cause autism, even in vaccinated populations.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Vaccine, Vaccination, Immunology, Immunity, Autism, Rubella


In pre-clinical animal studies, the uniformity of dosing across subjects and routes of administration is a crucial requirement. In preparation for a study in which aerosolized live-attenuated measles virus vaccine was administered to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) by inhalation, we assessed the percentage of a nebulized dose inhaled under varying conditions.

Concepts: Human, Vaccine, Mammal, Primate, Measles, Rubella, Monkey, Simian


SUMMARY Measles vaccination is estimated to have averted 13·8 million deaths between 2000 and 2012. Persisting heterogeneity in coverage is a major contributor to continued measles mortality, and a barrier to measles elimination and introduction of rubella-containing vaccine. Our objective is to identify determinants of inequities in coverage, and how vaccine delivery must change to achieve elimination goals, which is a focus of the WHO Decade of Vaccines. We combined estimates of travel time to the nearest urban centre (⩾50 000 people) with vaccination data from Demographic Health Surveys to assess how remoteness affects coverage in 26 African countries. Building on a statistical mapping of coverage against age and geographical isolation, we quantified how modifying the rate and age range of vaccine delivery affects national coverage. Our scenario analysis considers increasing the rate of delivery of routine vaccination, increasing the target age range of routine vaccination, and enhanced delivery to remote areas. Geographical isolation plays a key role in defining vaccine inequity, with greater inequity in countries with lower measles vaccine coverage. Eliminating geographical inequities alone will not achieve thresholds for herd immunity, indicating that changes in delivery rate or age range of routine vaccination will be required. Measles vaccine coverage remains far below targets for herd immunity in many countries on the African continent and is likely to be inadequate for achieving rubella elimination. The impact of strategies such as increasing the upper age range eligible for routine vaccination should be considered.

Concepts: Malaria, Africa, Vaccine, Vaccination, Smallpox, MMR vaccine, Measles, Rubella