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January 19, 2000

Protection Against Atopic Diseases by Measles—A Rash Conclusion?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison (Dr Gern), and Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Dr Weiss).

JAMA. 2000;283(3):394-395. doi:10.1001/jama.283.3.394

A major question facing modern medicine is why atopic diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, which have in common the overproduction of allergen-specific or total IgE, are increasing in prevalence. Atopic diseases are influenced by genetic predisposition and environmental exposures. However, since the spontaneous genetic mutation rate is quite slow, it is clear that changes in the environment are responsible for the increased prevalence of atopic diseases. But which environmental factor(s) is the culprit?