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Why are measles less common today than 50 years ago?

Most adults born before 1957 had measles as children. They might remember being sick for a few days with a rash and fever. And they might recall that other children in their school or neighborhood had measles at the same time. Some children developed severe complications, like pneumonia or encephalitis (swelling of the brain), or even died from measles.

Today, thanks to vaccines, very few children in the United States get measles. The number of people with measles has decreased by more than 99 percent since a measles vaccine was licensed in 1963. But, to keep people protected against measles, we need to always have a high level of vaccination in the community.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.