Fatal measles complication more common than thought: U.S. study

A worker places a banner for a measles prevention programme during an awareness campaign by health workers at the Ciudad Juarez Mexican border crossing with El Paso, TexasA deadly complication of measles in young children that strikes years after infection may be more common than previously thought, according to a study presented on Friday that stressed the importance of vaccinations against the highly contagious disease. The risk of acquiring the always fatal neurological disorder, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), was believed to be about 1-in-1,700, based on an earlier German study of children under five years of age infected with measles. The new research, looking at children who got measles during a large California outbreak around 1990, found the rate of SSPE to be 1-in-1,387 for those infected before the age of five.

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