Re: diseases and immunity

Mary Beth Williams (
15 Jul 1996 12:06:19 GMT

In <4sc0qj$> (Philip
Deitiker) writes:
> Beth Williams) wrote:
>>In <> Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax
>> Its already been
>>discussed that transfer of maternal immunity only lasts for the
>>during breastfeeding (hence, the high mortality of post-weening
>There is some reasons to believe that this is not entirely true as I
>mentioned previously, I haven't seen the new studies yet but the claim
>is that there are some lifelong transferances of immunity between
>mother and child. For me, the question should remain open, I don't
>want to be the guy who says only a protein can be an enzyme or a
>infectious pathogen must be alive or contain polynucleotide. But more
>important to the point if epidemics occur every 40 years or more then
>the interval is actually 2 filial generations, as such the 2nd filial
>generation must be 'reeducated' to fight the disease. None the less
>the maternal contribution at age 1, 5 and no maternal transfer might
>mean the difference between getting sick, getting really sick and
>dying, respectively.

Philip, lets make things a little less ambivalent and stick to the
diseases which have been the cornerstones of this discussion. You say
that there are reasons to believe that there are lasting immunities
passed during childbirth and breastfeeding from diseases such as
smallpox, chickenpox, measles, whooping cough, etc. Please provide
citations to support this assertion. I do not disagree that there may
be immunity to some infections passed on from mother to child, but all
the evidence I have seen in the historical and physical record does not
include the diseases mentioned above, and is in fact one of the reasons
that our children are immunized soon after birth.

MB Williams
Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst