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August 2, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXIX(5):260. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480310028007

An editorial in Merck's Archives1 points out the fallacy of the popular idea that measles is a harmless disease. The report of the New York Department of Health for the quarter ending March 31, 1902, shows the deaths from measles during the three months to have been 349, while only 356 deaths occurred from scarlatina during the same period. In 1900, the fatality in the United States from measles was 12,866, from whooping cough 9958, while there were but 6333 deaths from scarlet fever during the same year. The fatality in the former diseases varies much with the character of the epidemic, and with the age of the patient, but the total mortality is very large and much greater than is usually supposed. Among the laity it is generally thought that measles and whooping cough are not serious and that they do not require the attention of a physician,