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Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Within 40 years of Columbus' discovery of the New World, most of the indigenous population had died of diseases brought by the Europeans, mainly smallpox and measles.

16th-century Aztec drawing of someone with measles

Dr Fagon, the resident French court physician at Versailles wiped out almost the entire French royal family, including Louis XIV in 1715, by treating a measles epidemic with a ruthless combination of induced vomiting and extensive bleedings. Fortunately the five-year-old Louis XV  survived to take the throne thanks to his nurse who hid him from the incompetent doctor.

The 10 year-old Mark Twain nearly died of measles during an epidemic.

During World War II, the Americans renamed German Measles 'liberty measles'.

In 1995 92 per cent of British children were vaccinated with the MMR triple-jab, but this figure has fallen to 80 per cent following the claims of a link between vaccine and autism. More children in Botswana, Peru and Albania now receive measles vaccines.

This child shows a classic day-4 rash with measles.

Vaccines helped reduce measles deaths globally by 78% between 2000 and 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, deaths dropped by 92% in the same period.

Measles is so infectious that around 90 percent of people near an infected person will become infected if they aren't immune.

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