Public health official: Idea that measles is a trivial disease is 'nonsense'

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Wednesday that measles is a dangerous disease amid a widespread outbreak in the U.S. and around the world. 

"This idea that measles is a trivial disease is really nonsense," Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"If you look historically, before we had the measles vaccine, in the early to mid-'60s, globally, there are about 2 [million] to 3 million deaths per year from measles," he continued. 

"In the United States, before we had the widespread vaccination available, there would be about 2 [million] to 3 million cases, about 500 deaths, about a thousand cases of encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain. And anywhere from one to three deaths per thousand infections." 

The number of measles cases in the U.S. has surged recently, with 555 people being infected across 20 states. 

There has also been a global rise in the disease, with the World Health Organization announcing on Tuesday there has been a 300 percent increase in cases of measles in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period last year. 

Fauci said the disease has the ability to lead to other health issues and complications, such as pneumonia. 

"True, most children recover uneventfully from measles, [but] getting infected is a very uncomfortable situation," he said. "One out of ten children will get an ear infection that could lead to deafness. One out of twenty will get pneumonia, and 1 out of 1,000 will get encephalitis." 

"Anybody that thinks that's a trivial disease really is not in comport with what the facts are," he said. 

— Julia Manchester