Lupus may compromise long-term rubella immunity in adolescents
In a new study, researchers aimed to assess the evidence of immunity against rubella in 21 newly diagnosed adolescent girls with juvenile lupus. Prior to enrollment, all girls received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The early childhood MMR vaccine can prevent infection. The study followed the girls for two years and measured their rubella antibodies at certain time points.
The results showed that although all the girls showed evidence of immunity, the amount of protective antibodies against rubella declined significantly over time. Increased lupus disease activity was associated with lower level of rubella antibodies. Possible causes for the reduction in protective antibodies against rubella may be attributed to the disease mechanism, lupus activity, or medications used to manage lupus.
Rubella, also known as German measles, is a contagious infection caused by the rubella virus. Most people who get rubella have mild illness. However, rubella infection in early pregnancy can lead to serious fetal complications. It is important that we understand the impact of lupus on a young woman’s immunity to rubella.
Ultimately, more research investigating how autoimmune diseases, specifically lupus, impact long-term immunity conferred by vaccination is needed.