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Measles Mortality:  Analysis of the Primary Cause of Death

Roger M. Barkin, MD, MPH
Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(3):307-309. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120400019004.
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Four hundred fifty-four death certificates showing measles as the cause of death were analyzed. These represented 35.4% of the recorded deaths due to measles from 1964 through 1971. Respiratory or neurologic complications of measles or both were noted as the primary cause of death on nearly 90% of the certificates reviewed. In younger children, death was most frequently attributed to respiratory problems, while encephalitis and other neurologic sequelae of measles accounted for a larger percentage of deaths in the 10- to 14-year-olds.

Nearly 17% of the persons who died had some underlying disease at the time of death, the percentage increasing with age. The majority of this group were physically or mentally retarded, or both.

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