THE COMMONEST complications of measles, pneumonia and otitis, can nowadays be overcome by the use of chemotherapeutic agents, antibiotics, etc. Encephalitis, on the other hand, is still a dreaded complication, and rightly so, besides presenting major difficulties in treatment. The mortality rate in measles encephalitis, as will be seen from the following table,1 is high, ranging between 10 and 50%. The pronounced variation is partly attributable to differences in diagnostic evaluation.
The symptomatology of measles encephalitis varies widely, showing all degrees of severity ranging from mild cases with listlessness or irritation of short duration, then those with more or less stuporous states, to the severest forms attended by unconsciousness and convulsions. A study of mortality statistics in the literature shows that fatal cases are concentrated in the group with convulsions and unconsciousness. This is indeed true of a series from the Stockholm Hospital for Infectious Diseases, comprising 50 cases
BENDZ P, ENGSTRÖM C. RISK OF DEATH FROM ASPHYXIATION IN MEASLES ENCEPHALITIS. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1953;86(6):772-776. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1953.02050080787008