Because of the efficacy of the MMR vaccine (Measles/Mumps/Rubella), people in this country have forgotten how devastating an infection with measles can be. According to the CDC:
About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.
The measles is not chickenpox. It is not a cold. It is a deadly disease. Especially when you factor in other circumstances which may enhance the ability of the virus to be lethal. A dramatic example of this is described in a ProMed alert from Somalia, South Africa. There is a drought that is effecting the area. There has been an outbreak of measles in the village of Leego where 19 children under the age of five have died in the past 48 hours. 30 more children have fallen ill with the disease.
“The situation here is very precarious; children are dying every hour, and there is no health centre here,” said the elder, who called on international aid agencies and local Somali business people to come with urgent humanitarian assistance.
Simple immunization with the MMR vaccine could have saved all these lives. In the US, outbreaks of measles or mumps should be a thing of the past. Vaccination saves lives.
P.S. This is also from the CDC site:
During 2008, more measles cases were reported than in any other year since 1997. More than 90% of those infected had not been vaccinated, or their vaccination status was unknown.