Is the measles vaccine ineffective in kids born via C-section?

Is the measles vaccine ineffective in kids born via C-section?
31 May 2024
7 min
Table Of Content
Is the measles vaccine ineffective in kids born via C-section?

    Did you know? A recent study conducted by the University of Cambridge, UK, and Fudan University, China, found that a single dose of the measles jab is up to 2.6 times more likely to not be effective in children born through C-section than in those born naturally. 


    But, the second dose was found to give robust immunity to children born via C-section. This vaccine failure means that the children born through C-section do not have the immunity to fight off the measles infection and may remain at high risk. 


    In this article, we will be learning in brief about Mealses. So, keep reading!

    What is the background of the measles vaccine research about C-section kids?


    The University of Cambridge and Fudan University conducted research on 1,505 children (aged 0–12 years) in Hunan, China, collecting blood samples for immunological studies. 


    The study's results showed that 12% of the babies born through C-section showed no antibodies or presented with a lack of immune response to their first measles vaccination, compared to 5% of the babies born naturally. 


    This study suggested the importance of the second dose of the measles vaccine in children born through C-section, which is required to protect them against measles infection. The senior researcher of the study, Prof. Henrik Salje, University of Cambridge, said that children born through C-section are not exposed to the microbiome of the mother compared to those born through a vaginal birth. 


    He thought that this lack of exposure to the mother's microbiome takes longer for the child to catch up with the gut microbiome and with it, the immune system's ability to be primed by vaccines against disease (including measles).


    "With a C-section birth, children aren't exposed to the mother's microbiome in the same way as with a vaginal birth" -Prof Henrik Salje at the University of Cambridge, UK.

    What is measles?


    Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by viral infection. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The morbillivirus virus causes measles, which infects the respiratory system and causes symptoms like a rash, cough, and fever.

    What are the symptoms of measles disease?


    The symptoms of measles may take 10 to 14 days to appear after the person has been exposed to the virus. The most common sign of measles is a widespread rash. A measles rash usually develops first on the head and then gradually spreads to other areas of the body. It usually appears as flat, raised bumps and tiny spots that eventually merge together to look like a rash from head to toe. 


    Some other symptoms of measles include the following:


    • High fever
    • Cough
    • Running nose
    • Eye irritation
    • Redness in the eyes
    • Sore throat
    • Koplik spots inside the mouths (white spots)
    • Tiredness
    • A sore throat
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Muscle pain

    What are the causes of measles?


    Measles is caused by the morbillivirus, which is extremely contagious. It is an airborne disease that spreads through the droplets of cough and sneeze released by an infected person. It also spreads when an infected person talks or breathes. When a healthy person inhales the infected particles, they also contract the infection.

    How does measles spread?


    Measles spreads through the following:


    • By shaking hands or hugging an infected person
    • By sharing food, drinks, or personal items with an infected person
    • Through intimate contact with someone who has measles
    • Touching measles-contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, eyes, or face
    • From a pregnant mother to the fetus during pregnancy and delivery
    • From mother to baby while breastfeeding

    What are the complications of measles?


    The various complications that may occur due to measles include the following:


    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Ear infection
    • Pneumonia
    • Bronchitis
    • Laryngitis
    • Encephalitis (inflammation in the brain)
    • Pregnancy-related complications like low birth weight, premature birth, or death


    Note: People with compromised immunity, infants and children, and pregnant women are at more risk of developing complications due to measles. 

    How to treat measles?


    There is no specific cure for measles. Antibiotics don't work on viral infections. The measles virus runs its course for 10-14 days, after which the symptoms subside. To treat measles, prevent the risk of complications, and help you manage your symptoms, your doctor will prescribe NSAIDs and analgesics. You may also be given a measles vaccine within 72 hours of being exposed to it. 


    For managing symptoms of measles, it is advised to:


    • Take plenty of rest
    • Drink a lot of fluids
    • Use humidifiers to ease your sore throat and cough
    • Take vitamin A supplement in your diet
    • Dim lights if you experience light sensitivity


    Note: Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics if you have developed a bacterial infection such as pneumonia, along with measles. 

    How do we protect our children from Measles?


    Measles is a contagious infection. To protect your child from measles, you can take the below-mentioned preventive measures:


    • Stay up-to-date with your child's vaccination. Measles vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect against measles.
    • MMR vaccination is the best way to protect against measles
    • Avoid taking your child to extremely crowded places
    • Ensure optimal hygiene is maintained
    • Disinfect the items your child uses, such as toys and clothes
    • Do not share personal items with anyone who might be infected with measles
    • Avoid coming in contact with people who are constantly sneezing or coughing and have a runny nose
    • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing
    • Wash your and your baby's hands and face frequently



    Measles disease can be prevented with MMR vaccine. It is important to take both doses of the vaccine to prevent contracting measles infection and its complications. Maintaining personal hygiene is best adviced to prevent catching the infection. If you have been infected with measles, then resting, eating healthily, and drink fluids is are If you experience any complications from measles, contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

    Written by
    Arwa AliakberB.Pharm
    AboutArwa Ali Akber is a passionate medical content writer specializing in critical care tips. With a knack for making complex topics accessible, Arwa will get you into the intricacies of health nuances that are known and unknown. Her mission is to enlighten readers, offering insights and guidance to navigate numerous health-related queries.
    Tags :Measles vaccineVaccinationC-section Kids2nd dose of vaccine