Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Measles in children who have malignant disease.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 04 July 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:15
  1. J Kernahan,
  2. J McQuillin,
  3. A W Craft


    A review study examined the clinical course of measles diagnosed in children being treated for malignant disease in Newcastle upon Tyne during 1973-86. Of the 17 cases diagnosed, five were fatal. Factors associated with a favourable outcome were a typical rash and Koplik's spots, which were accompanied by a detectable serum antibody response and the disappearance of measles giant cells from nasopharyngeal secretions. Pneumonitis severe enough to require assisted ventilation was invariably fatal. Pneumonitis and encephalitis were the main complications. Treatment included immunoglobulin, interferon, and ribavirin, but none could clearly be shown to be effective. The comparatively low mortality in this series may have been due to the extensive use of the fluorescent antibody technique in Newcastle during the study period and therefore detection of less severe cases as compared with other reports.