Do the math and keep vaccinating

Posted4/17/2019 1:00 AM

A letter to the editor April 6 from a baby boomer cites the pre-vaccine era in the 1950s where no one feared the measles. I am of the same generation. I also had the measles as a child and escaped unscathed as well as every other child in my immediate social circle. But the USA has a huge population and fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control counts the beans.

One in 200 cases of measles results in pneumonia, which is a leading cause of death in children. And one in 1,000 cases of measles leads to encephalitis. This inflammation of the brain leads to brain swelling, seizures, brain damage and death.


It is easy to get lulled into a sense of security with relatively uncommon complication. No drug treats or cures the measles. The CDC counts 20.8 million fewer deaths worldwide since 1998 thanks to the MMR vaccine. Go to the CDC website - it is free - and get the facts.

On a personal note, I remember the mumps: pain, fever and laying moribund on the couch for days. And in my younger days of my medical career, I saw many people with complications of congenital rubella, which is a sad burden of disability and expense to society. Do the math and then judge whether we should fear the measles.

Yes, fear the measles, the mumps and rubella and keep vaccinating.

William I. Swedler


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