One of the principal features of measles epidemiology in the United States is that mortality declined before the introduction of the vaccine. We present data on measles mortality in the United States from1890 to the present day. Our analysis focuses in particular on 1933–63, which is the time period for which there are complete (i.e., nationwide) mortality statistics, and before the first use of the measles vaccine in the winter of 1963–64. Measles mortality decline pre-dated the vaccine, though accelerated after 1963 with the reduction of cases associated with immunization. We present data on the mean age of measles mortality, and of the sex ratio in measles mortality. Our analysis points to reduction in transmission, improvements in nutrition, use of antibiotics to treat complications, and use of convalescent serum as the reasons mortality fell before the vaccine.
Presented in Session 197. Demography of Epidemics