"We already knew that measles attacks immune memory, and that it was immunosuppressive for a short amount of time. But this paper suggests that immune suppression lasts much longer than previously suspected," says study co-author C. Jessica Metcalf, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs at Princeton University, NJ. "In other words," she adds, "if you get measles, 3 years down the road, you could die from something that you would not die from had you not been infected with measles." There has been much focus on measles of late. Though the virus was declared eliminated from the US in 2000, the number of measles cases in the country has started to rise. Last year saw 644 measles cases reported - the highest number since elimination - and this year has seen 169 cases reported so far. The recent measles epidemic in the US has been primarily attributed to lack of vaccination against the virus. A Spotlight from Medical News Today in February investigated the issue, finding that many people remain concerned about the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which may be deterring parents from getting their children vaccinated.