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Measles 'gap' that puts tots at risk

Babies have a "gap" in their immunity against measles which makes them susceptible to picking up the virus, new research has revealed.

Youngsters usually receive their measles jab when they are 13 months old, as part of the triple measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

But research has shown they are susceptible to the virus from around two or three months old until they get vaccinated.

The researchers said that protection offered by a mother's antibodies wears off in the first few months, leaving babies open to infection, particularly between nine and 12 months.

The latest study, published online in the British Medical Journal, involved 207 healthy women and their babies recruited from five hospitals in Antwerp, Belgium.

Results showed that women vaccinated as children had far fewer antibodies than women who were naturally immune.

The babies of vaccinated women also had significantly lower antibody levels than those of naturally immune women.