Objective: Although it has been suggested that exposure to infections during childhood could decrease risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), the evidence is scarce. We investigated the association of measles and mumps with CVD.
Methods: 43,689 men and 60,147 women aged 40-79 years at baseline (1988-1990) completed a lifestyle questionnaire, including their history of measles and mumps, and were followed until 2009. Histories of infections were categorized as having no infection (reference), measles only, mumps only, or both infections. Hazard ratios (HR) for mortality from CVD across histories of infections were calculated.
Results: Men with measles only had multivariable HR (95% confidence interval) of 0.92 (0.85-0.99) for total CVD, those with mumps only had 0.52 (0.28-0.94) for total stroke and 0.21 (0.05-0.86) for hemorrhagic stroke, and those with both infections had 0.80 (0.71-0.90) for total CVD, 0.71 (0.53-0.93) for myocardial infarction, and 0.83 (0.69-0.98) for total stroke. Women with both infections had 0.83 (0.74-0.92) for total CVD and 0.84 (0.71-0.99) for total stroke. We also compared subjects with measles only or mumps only (reference) and those with both infections. Men with both infections had 0.88 (0.78-0.99) for total CVD. Women with both infections had 0.85 (0.76-0.94) for total CVD, 0.79 (0.67-0.93) for total stroke, 0.78 (0.62-0.98) for ischemic stroke and 0.78 (0.62-0.98) for hemorrhagic stroke.
Conclusions: Measles and mumps, especially in case of both infections, were associated with lower risks of mortality from atherosclerotic CVD.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Immune system; Measles; Mortality; Mumps; Myocardial infarction; Stroke.
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