Experience of previous infection by a host can lead to the development of immunity. This can either be cellular, conferred by T-lymphocyte sensitization or humoral, from B-lymphocyte response. Immunity can either be acquired or passive.

Acquired (both cellular and humoral) immunity follows an infection or vaccination of attenuated (live or dead) organisms. This will induce the body to develop an immune response in a number of diseases. Immunity is most completely developed against the viral infections and may be permanent. With protozoal infections (e.g. malaria), it is only maintained by repeated attacks of the organism.

Passive (humoral only) immunity is the transfer of antibodies from a mother to her child via the placenta. Passive immunity is short lived, as in the protection of the young infant against measles for the first 6 months of life. Passive immunity can also be introduced (e.g. in rabies immune serum).

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