qetzal wrote:A resurgence of measles occurred during 1989–1991, again demonstrating the serious medical burden of the disease. More than 55,000 cases, 123 deaths, and 11,000 hospitalizations were reported . Two major causes of this epidemic were vaccine failure among a small percentage of school-aged children who had received 1 dose of measles vaccine and low measles vaccine coverage among preschool-aged children.
That's one death for every 447 cases, and one hospitalization for every 5 cases! And note that this was relatively recently, so you can't plausibly argue that general improvements in medical care would have greatly reduced death & hospitalization rates since then.
In fact, I do suspect that medical care has significantly advanced in the past 25 years, both in terms of quality and public availability to children. To back up that suspicion, I would look back to the graph at the top of the thread. There have been approximately 1500 cases of measles in the United States since 2003. The 1:500 mortality ratio would expect three deaths in that time; there have actually been none. That's outside the 90% confidence interval, but not quite to 95%. So I think it is rational to not outright reject the hypothesis that mortality is unchanged but still be open to the possibility of rejecting it as the outbreak continues.
But thank you for that actual data that we can discuss; it is more valuable than trusting the scientific media to interpret the results on our behalf. It is frightening to contemplate that the current outbreak could grow to be 100 times the current number of cases before it is over and that measles is absolutely a disease that can and will continue to be fatal to some folks. Here is another interesting probabilistic discussion of why we shouldn't be surprised that six of the cases from the recent Disneyland outbreak had had the recommended two stage vaccination treatment, and also some anecdotal evidence that properly vaccinated children are better prepared to fight measles and slow the contagion even if they contract it.