That babies are especially sensitive to bacterial infections isn’t news. According to the World Health Organization, more than 2 million babies under six months old die of such infections every year.
The womb is a sterile environment, but the moment the baby moves into the birth canal, bacteria, viruses and fungi tax the little one’s immune system. The body developed this sensitivity to let helpful microorganisms colonize the intestines, skin, mouth and lungs.
A study published in the journal Nature last month discusses possible ways to help a newborn’s immune system fight infections better, while making vaccinations more effective. The study was based in part on research by Israeli professor Ofer Levy, a pediatric specialist in infectious diseases from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, though he isn’t one of the authors.
The researchers examined why newborns have such a weak immune system. Read the full report at Haaretz.