The CDC gives us numbers of cases per year.
Year Cases 2010 63 2011 220 2012 55 2013 187 2014 667 2015 188 2016* 70 2017** 117
I come up with 1,567 total
They also give us numbers of complications.
Common measles complications include ear infections and diarrhea.
- Ear infections occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss.
- Diarrhea is reported in less than one out of 10 people with measles.
Some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die.
- As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
- About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.
- For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.
I'm a bit surprised that we don't have more info on how these cases of measles actually play out.
The CDC should be able to give us some actual numbers of cases that end in deafness for example, or cases of pneumonia for another example.
The most I've come across is rates of hospitalization in one outbreak or another, but without knowing how long the hospitalization lasts and whether there are permanent consequences, it is hard to judge how terrified we should be.
And, as always, I want to tuck in some of my many unanswered questions.
The death rate from measles went down dramatically between 1900 and the 1960s when a vaccine was released. Did the rate of complications also decline? Why or why not? The CDC makes it sound (see above) as though the complication rate of measles is fixed, not variable and that living conditions have no effect... Isn't that odd?