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Italy measles cases up amid anti-vax mood

dpa logodpa 4/05/2017

Cases of measles in Italy are increasing as the country's populist opposition party adopts an anti-vaccination platform, according to a NYT editorial.

Italy recorded 1,920 cases of the deadly measles virus in the first four months of the year, a 523-per-cent increase from the same period of 2016, according to national health authorities.

The news came as Italy's main opposition party, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), defended itself from a New York Times editorial accusing it of campaigning "actively on an anti-vaccination platform."

Some 88 per cent of people who contracted measles were unvaccinated, and 73 per cent were aged 15 or above, the National Health Institute and the Ministry of Health said in a bulletin. There were 176 cases among health care workers, it added.

"The measles data is really worrying, particularly due to serious and dangerous anti-scientific disinformation, also spread by some political forces, which have led some people to refuse vaccines," Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin told the ANSA news agency.

Leading M5S officials, including founder Beppe Grillo, have publicised fraudulent studies suggesting that vaccines can be harmful and may cause autism, and have campaigned against compulsory vaccination.

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