10:44 GMT +320 September 2019
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    Disease Eradication: Anti-Vaxxers to Potentially Face Steep Fines in Germany

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    A draft law from Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, would require parents in the country who refuse to vaccinate their children against measles to pay up to 2,500 euros ($2,790) in fines and would also prevent their children from attending daycare facilities.

    "I want to eradicate measles," Spahn told the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper Sunday. 

    Although it is unclear whether Spahn's proposal will be made law, the head of the German Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, applauded Spahn's proposal Sunday, telling local media sources that it is an "important step at the right time."

    During the first two months of 2019, Germany has 164 reported cases of measles, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. In addition the World Health Organization reported in February that there were 82,596 reported cases of measles in Europe last year, with 72 children and adults in Europe killed by the highly-infectious disease in 2018.

    In addition, the number of measles cases in the US is currently at its highest level since the deadly disease was declared in 2000 to be eliminated in the nation, according to a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    As of last month, there are 685 cases of measles in 22 US states, the CDC reported, even as so-called anti-vaxx supporters vocally refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children.

    Many people are misinformed about vaccinations, according to the CDC, which is the primary reason that new outbreaks are occurring in the US. 

    "Some organizations are deliberately targeting these communities with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines. CDC continues to encourage parents to speak to their family's healthcare provider about the importance of vaccination. CDC also encourages local leaders to provide accurate, scientific-based information to counter misinformation," the US federal health group stated.

    Measles is an extremely contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of infected individuals and is often transmitted to others through coughing and sneezing.

    The virus is prevented with the MMR vaccine, which also protects against mumps (a viral infection that affects the salivary glands) and rubella (a viral infection identified by a distinctive red rash).

    The CDC recommends that children get two doses of the safe and proven MMR vaccine, with the first dose administered between 12-15 months of age and the second dose at four-six years of age.

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    Tags:
    vaccine, measles outbreak, measles, World Health Organization (WHO), US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Europe, United States, Germany
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