The number of measles cases recorded in Italy since the beginning of this year has increased considerably, a phenomenon that worries health authorities because of parents’ resistance to the vaccine, according to Spanish language media (computer translated).
According to the Ministry of Health, 700 cases were registered in the first three months of 2017, while in all of 2016, 844 were infected.
Most of the patients are young adults (15-39 years old) and live in developed cities such as Turin, Rome, Milan and Florence.
The ministry says the virus spreads more easily among the population that has not been vaccinated.
In recent decades, the number of parents opposed to vaccination has grown, despite “scientific evidence,” according to authorities.
The ministry believes it is the only effective measure to prevent the disease. Both public and government services facilitate access to the vaccine, which although free is not mandatory.
After covering more than 90% of the population, the rate of vaccinated children on the peninsula two years ago was reduced to 85.3%, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a threshold of 95% for Prevent the circulation of this highly contagious virus.
Often a mild disease, measles can cause fatal complications.
The last major outbreak recorded in Italy was in 2002 and killed 15 people over 18,000 infected.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Italy is one of six countries in the European Union where measles is endemic along with Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and Romania.
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