The Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review

This was in the queue, and seems relevant giving at least one conservative pundit’s claim that measles isn’t “that big of a deal.

That’s the rather anodyne title of this article (open access) that describes the effects of measles infections by age between 1987 – 2000. From the abstract:

Forty years after effective vaccines were licensed, measles continues to cause death and severe disease in children worldwide. Complications from measles can occur in almost every organ system. Pneumonia, croup, and encephalitis are common causes of death; encephalitis is the most common cause of long-term sequelae. Measles remains a common cause of blindness in developing countries. Complication rates are higher in those 20 years old, although croup and otitis media are more common in those <2 years old and encephalitis in older children and adults. Complication rates are increased by immune deficiency disorders, malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, intense exposures to measles, and lack of previous measles vaccination. Case-fatality rates have decreased with improvements in socioeconomic status in many countries but remain high in developing countries.

Note this is the ‘modern era’–the anti-vaxxers can’t use the dodge that we’re healthier now (if anything, morbidity statistics such as diabetes and obesity in the U.S. suggest that we’re worse off compared to thirty years ago). And here’s how things break down by age in the U.S. from 1987 – 2000 (our last big outbreak was 1989 – 1991):


While adults over thirty are a minority of cases, when they do get the measles, they have the highest mortality rate: death by measles–it’s not just for kids!

Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, anti-vaxxers piss me off.

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