Measles mortality and vaccine efficacy in rural West Africa

Lancet. 1983 Apr 30;1(8331):972-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(83)92091-3.


Measles mortality and measles vaccine efficacy were determined during outbreaks in three Gambian villages. There were 146 cases of measles among 1073 children younger than 11 years. 30% of the children had been vaccinated against measles. The attack rate in unvaccinated children aged 9-47 months was 43% compared with 6% for children of the same age with documented measles vaccination. Vaccine efficacy was 37% for children vaccinated at 6-8 months of age and 89% for children vaccinated at 9 months or older. 5% of measles cases died before the initial investigation of the outbreaks and a further 10% of cases died during the ensuing 9 months. Only 1% of children who did not contract measles died in the 9 months after the outbreaks. Case-fatality rates were highest for measles patients less than 1 year old (64%) and fell with age. Measles remains a significant source of acute and delayed mortality in unvaccinated African populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Western
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gambia
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Measles / mortality*
  • Measles / prevention & control
  • Measles Vaccine / standards*
  • Measles Vaccine / therapeutic use
  • Risk
  • Rural Health


  • Measles Vaccine