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March 1962

Medical Importance of Measles

Author Affiliations

Alexander D. Langmuir, M.D., Chief, Epidemiology Branch, Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta 22.; From the Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(3):224-226. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020236005

During the past 40 years the ecological approach to disease has become a basic concept of epidemiology. Among all diseases measles has stood as the classic example of successful parasitism. This self-limiting infection of short duration, moderate severity, and low fatality has maintained a remarkably stable biological balance over the centuries. Those epidemiologists, and there are many, who tend to revere the biological balance have long argued that the ecological equilibrium of measles is solidly based, that it cannot readily be disrupted, and that therefore we must learn to live with this parasite rather than hope to eradicate it. This speaker, not so long ago, was counted among this group and waxed eloquent on this subject in print.1

Happily, this era is ending. New and potent tools that promise effective control of measles are at hand. If these tools are properly developed and wisely used, it should be possible

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