Antibodies to measles in individuals with recent onset psychosis

Faith Dickerson, Cassie Stallings, Andrea Origoni, Crystal Copp, Sunil Khushalani, Robert Yolken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Measles virus is a highly prevalent neurotropic virus capable of causing persistent infections within the central nervous system. Methods: We measured IgG class antibodies to measles in 820 individuals including 138 with recent onset psychosis, 378 with persistent schizophrenia, and 304 non-psychiatric controls.Levels of antibodies among the groups were compared by bivariate and by multivariate analyses and correlated with clinical and demographic variables. Results: The level of measles antibodies in individuals with a recent onset of psychosis was greater than the level of antibodies in individuals with persistent schizophrenia or individuals without a history of a psychiatric disorder (p<.00001). The level of measles antibodies in the individuals with persistent schizophrenia was greater than the level of measles antibodies in the controls (p<.001). Recent onset of psychosis was associated with having elevated levels of measles antibodies, defined as the 90th percentile of the levels of the controls, with an odds ratio of 8.0 (95% CI 4.6, 14.0); persistent schizophrenia was associated with having this level with an odds ratio of 2.3 (95% CI 1.4, 3.7). Within the psychiatric groups, measles antibody levels were associated with age, race, and current treatment with the antipsychotic medication, olanzapine. Conclusions: The reasons for elevated levels of measles antibodies in the psychiatric groups are not known with certainty and should be studied in prospective investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Infection
  • Measles
  • Recent onset psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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