Saturday, September 3, 2011

Death isn't everything, part 3: measles in Minnesota

This is Mahi Abdalla on his mother's lap (photo Jim Gehrz, His family took him from Minnesota to Kenya where he contracted measles. He had been unvaccinated, because he was only 9 months old when he left the country. He spent three weeks in the hospital, two of those on a ventilator, due to measles pneumonia.

The US has seen over 175 measles cases this year; in the 1989-1991 epidemic, the death rate was just over 1 in 400 reported cases (123 acute deaths, at least 11 due to SSPE). Mahi was "lucky" with this severe but not fatal course of measles - it is only a question of time when the US will see their first acute measles fatality since measles were thought eradicated from the Americas. SSPE as a late consequence of measles usually in the first couple of years of life is still looming over the heads of the babies and toddlers who contracted measles this year. Sad...

1 comment:

  1. I took my 13 year old son in for his annual check up last friday, two information sheets in the rack on the wall caught my eye. One was "Symptoms of Measles" and the other was "Warning Signs of Whooping Cough". First time I've seen that in 15 years of taking kids to the pediatrician. Hard to believe how far back we've come so quickly. I grew up with my Grandmother telling stories of polio outbreaks in the 50s and her fear of them. She thought Salk was a god. My mother had a baby still born in the mid 1960s because she contracted rubella during pregnancy.