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Measles Killer: More Common than Believed

Measles Killer: More Common than Believed

A rare and universally fatal complication of measles is more common than clinicians had thought, a researcher said here.

The disease is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) and in the pre-vaccine era investigators thought it occurred about one in 100,000 measles cases, according to James Cherry, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles.

But analysis of 17 cases -- most related to the California measles epidemic in 1988 through 1990 -- suggests the rate could be as high as one in 600, depending on the patient's age at the time of infection, Cherry told reporters...


SSPE is a long-term outcome of measles, typically appearing 4 to 8 years after measles infection, and characterized initially by behavior changes and later by progressively more severe seizures. Death usually occurs between 1 and 3 years after diagnosis.'

I found this finding interesting in the light of the vociferous minority that argue against vaccinations, due to the risk of adverse events, while conveniently forgetting the much higher risk of adverse events - including death, from the full infection.

For those who have yet to discover PaulaS's summary on things we can do to improve our chances on the CLL journey, non live vaccinations are covered in part 1:


Photo: It's a willow, not a gum tree, but hopefully this heaviest, if not the largest member of the kingfisher family is instantly recognisable :) :) Photographed today on my way home from a walk along a local creek.

1 Reply

Not directly related to your post Neil, but the word "measles" takes me back 60 years to the day I was due to start school (age 5) - uniform neatly folded at the bottom of my bed and shoes polished - only to wake and find myself covered in spots. Doctor duly called and confirmed measles. I missed my first whole month of school and apparently was quite poorly.

Needless to say I made sure all my children were vaccinated!


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