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March 1962

Scientific Problems Remaining Unanswered: Part I

Author Affiliations

G. S. Wilson, M.D., Medical Research Council, London.; Director, Public Health Laboratory Service, England and Wales.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(3):518-520. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020530077

I propose to throw out a few questions which still remain unanswered and to take the liberty of ranging fairly widely, not restricting myself too closely to measles immunization, leaving to Dr. Smadel the more technical aspects of immunization against measles.

One of the first questions I should like to ask is, Why do measles patients die? It may sound like a silly question; the answer may leap to your mind. But I am not sure that it is quite as straightforward as that.

In England and Wales, and I daresay in the United States also, only about one child in 100,000 children who suffer from measles actually dies. What is peculiar about that child that makes him die? Is the diagnosis always correct? Does he die from measles or from its complications? Is he suffering from hypogammaglobulinemia? I don't know. But it might be worthwhile looking into the problem

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