Factors associated with measles complications in Gweru, Zimbabwe

East Afr Med J. 2001 Mar;78(3):135-8. doi: 10.4314/eamj.v78i3.9079.


Objective: To investigate factors associated with complications or death among measles cases.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Setting: Health facilities in the city of Gweru, Zimbabwe.

Subjects: Six hundred and thirty seven measles cases randomly selected from measles surveillance data.

Main outcome measures: (a) Associations of respiratory complications and diarrhoea with death among complicated cases; (b) associations of age at infection, gender of cases and vaccination status of cases with occurrence of either respiratory complications or diarrhoea or death among measles cases.

Results: Among cases with respiratory complications, twenty two (29%) had died, while five (5%) had died among those with diarrhoea (OR=7.06,95% CI=2.55-22.35, p<0.001). On rates of respiratory complications among cases, age groups 24-59 and 60+ months were protective by 57% (95% CI=11-79%) and 76% (95% CI=52-88%) respectively compared to the age group <24 months, and vaccination was protective by 42% (95% CI=2-65%) compared to those unvaccinated. Concerning rates of diarrhoea among cases, the age group 60+ months was protective by 80% (95% CI=62-89%) compared to age group <60 months, while vaccination was protective by 64% (95% CI=42-77%) compared to those unvaccinated. With respect to rates of mortality among cases, age was protective by six per cent (95% CI=3-9 %) for every year older.

Conclusion: It was concluded that: (a) the risk of death was higher in cases with respiratory complications than diarrhoea; (b) the risk of complications and death was inversely related to age at infection and older age groups were protective against occurrence of complications or death; (c) the risk of complications was higher in unvaccinated cases and vaccination was protective against occurrence of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Measles / complications*
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology