Measles to dead in one day

While researching the Rothacker family this evening (expect a post about this project in a month or two), I found a daughter who died in 1929 of measles, which seemed pertinent to current discussions on vaccination.

Rhodora Rothacker, 2, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph R. Rothacker, ??? Pearson ave, died Saturday evening the first victim of the measles epidemic now raging in the city. Rhodora contracted measles Friday. Pneumonia followed, causing her death. With nine additional measles cases reported this morning, the total number of cases this month in Ames was 205. One mumps case was reported today to bring the month's total to five cases. Today's victims of communicable diseases follows:
Newspaper clipping on the death of Rhodora Rothacker

Measles Takes First Victim

Two-year old child dies Saturday

Rhodora Rothacker, 2, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph R. Rothacker, ??? Pearson ave, died Saturday evening the first victim of the measles epidemic now raging in the city.

Rhodora contracted measles Friday. Pneumonia followed, causing her death. With nine additional measles cases reported this morning, the total number of cases this month in Ames was 205. One mumps case was reported today to bring the month's total to five cases.

Today's victims of communicable diseases follows:

There were 205 cases in one small city in Iowa in one month of 1929! As bad as the current measles outbreak is, we’re doing so much better these days because vaccines are available. Reminds me of stopping at a cemetery in Strasburg North Dakota a couple of years ago, and finding rows of graves for people who had died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. I just did a quick check on the population of Ames. According to Wikipedia *, the population of Ames in 1930 was 10,261, meaning that about 2% of the city’s population had measles!

Also note that Rhodora contracted measles on Friday and was dead the following day, which makes me think of two points:

  1. Measles can kill fast. There may not be enough time to get proper medical attention.
  2. I know a popular meme is that the MMR vaccine is too traumatic for young children to have, so space those vaccines out with an alternative schedule. Measles seems a lot more traumatic than anything a vaccine does. One day!

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