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March 1962

Measles on Tahiti

Author Affiliations

Leon Rosen, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.; Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(3):254-255. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020266014

The island of Tahiti in the South Pacific is not generally considered an isolated area and has, in fact, been visited very frequently by Europeans for some 200 years. However, until very recently, its great distance from large centers of population necessitated a journey of such length from these areas that measles virus has been carried to the island only on very infrequent occasions. Furthermore, each time that the virus has been introduced, it has caused a sharp outbreak and then quickly disappeared. In recent times, measles epidemics have occurred on Tahiti in 1929, 1951, and 1960.

The author was present on Tahiti during the 1951 outbreak and also had the opportunity of revisiting the area shortly before and after the 1960 epidemic. Sera were collected in 1951 and again in 1959, in many cases from the same persons. This report will summarize briefly certain observations which were made during

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