Measles - a short history lesson

(Feb 2, 2022)

The UK Health Security Agency recently issued a press release, warning that too few children were vaccinated against measles.  With the benefits of vaccination and a developed healthcare system, it is easy to forget that measles was often a fatal disease for young children.  Table 1 shows just how deadly measles was at the start of last century without vaccination:

Table 1. Deaths under 5 years old in England Wales.  Source: Own calculations using ONS data.

Year Deaths due
to all causes
Deaths due
to measles
Measles deaths
as percentage
1901 201,747 8,440 4.2%
1902 185,024 12,065 6.5%
1903 180,340 8,610 4.8%
1904 199,678 11,507 5.8%
1905 174,258 10,383 6.0%

Table 1 shows that thousands of under-5s died of measles…

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Tags: measles, vaccination

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