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February 1966

Measles Vaccination in Patients on Immunosuppressive Drugs: Immune Response of Certain Hematologic Patients to Inactivated Measles Vaccine

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of California-San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco. Dr. Stiehm was a Special Fellow, National Institutes of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, San Francisco; his present position is at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Medical School.

Am J Dis Child. 1966;111(2):191-194. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1966.02090050123010

CHILDREN WITH acute leukemia should be protected against measles, as this disease represents a grave threat to them.1,2 Prophylactic γ-globulin, even when given at the time of exposure, may not prevent morbidity or mortality.2 Immunization with live attenuated measles vaccine is contraindicated because of the occurrence of fatal giant-cell pneumonia following vaccination.1 Accordingly, inactivated measles vaccine was evaluated in children with acute leukemia and other hematologic illnesses requiring immunosuppressive drug therapy. Their serologic response was compared with previously reported data from normal children immunized with the same vaccine. Immune globulin levels were also determined to further evaluate their immunologic status.

Methods  The 17 patients with acute leukemia, reticulo-endotheliosis, aplastic anemia, and neuroblastoma who were studied were attending the Hematology Clinic at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center. A summary of their ages, diagnoses, and treatment is presented in Table 1.Three inactivated (killed) measles immunizations* of