This test checks for immunity to the virus that causes measles.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
This test can also be purchased bundled as the Immune Status – MMR panel.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test checks for immunity to the virus that causes the measles.
Why is this important?
The measles virus is highly contagious, and is easily transmitted from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing, and other airborne methods. It causes the measles (also known as rubeola), a disease which is characterized by a distinctive rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Measles is also associated with fever, irritability, diarrhea, and respiratory illness.
In the majority of its victims measles is a mild, self-limited disease. It can be quite serious, however, and in about 30% of cases patients can develop complications such as pneumonia, hearing loss, inflammation of the brain, and even death (especially in children less than five years old).
Prior to the vaccine era, measles was responsible for millions of deaths annually around the globe. During the latter half of the 20th century, the incidence of measles declined dramatically due to efforts to immunize young children against infection with the measles virus.
The vaccine works to stimulate the production of antibodies, which are molecules that help the immune system target and destroy the measles virus when it enters the bloodstream. As long as these antibodies circulate in sufficient quantities, the likelihood of a measles virus infection stays low.
As people get older though the immune system ages too, and sometimes adults stop producing antibodies to the measles virus. Treatment with drugs that suppress the immune system can also cause a reduction in immunity. If that happens, then there is an increased risk of contracting measles.
What do the results mean?
This test determines the presence of antibodies to the measles virus circulating in the bloodstream. In other words, if you have either had the measles in the past, or if you’ve been immunized against measles, then you should have antibodies to the virus and a positive result indicates ongoing protection.
A negative result means that you do not have a significant number of the expected antibodies, and you are no longer immune to the measles virus. If this is the case you should talk to your doctor about what the results mean, as well as the pros and cons of getting vaccinated.