Measles specific IgM and IgG begin to appear in the circulation simultaneously. The IgM response is relatively short-lived (1-3 months), while the IgG response is sustained, resulting in lifelong immunity. Therefore, the identification of circulating measles specific IgM antibodies is useful in defining a primary infection.
Since the presence of circulating IgG antibody to measles virus is indicative of previous infection or vaccination, screening the young adult population about to enter college or the military, pregnant women, and other individuals at risk, for seropositivity, is a valuable tool for determining their immune status.
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