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JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Measles incidence, case fatality, and delayed mortality in children with or without vitamin A supplementation in rural Ghana

N Dollimore, F Cutts, F N Binka, D A Ross, S S Morris, P G Smith
American Journal of Epidemiology 1997 October 15, 146 (8): 646-54
9345118
Data on measles incidence, acute case fatality, and delayed mortality were collected on 25,443 children aged 0-95 months during the course of a community-based, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of vitamin A supplementation in rural, northern Ghana between 1989 and 1991. Measles vaccine coverage in these children was 48%. The overall estimated measles incidence rate was 24.3 per 1,000 child-years, and acute case fatality was 15.7%. There was not significantly increased mortality in survivors of the acute phase of measles compared with controls (rate ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65-2.30). Reported incidence rates and case fatality were higher in families with low paternal education, in the dry season, and in unvaccinated children, and case fatality was higher in malnourished children. There was no sex difference in incidence, but acute case fatality was somewhat higher in girls than boys (adjusted odds ratio = 1.3, 95% CI 0.9-2.1). Measles incidence was lower in vitamin A-supplemented groups (23.6 per 1,000 child-years) than in placebo groups (28.9 per 1,000 child-years), but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.33). Among 946 measles cases in clusters randomized to receive vitamin A or placebo, there was no marked difference in acute measles case fatality between vitamin A-supplemented and placebo groups (15.4% vs. 14.5%, respectively). The biologic effects of vitamin A supplemented on the subsequent clinical manifestations and severity of measles need further elucidation.

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