A German toddler died in Berlin of measles infection according to the health authorities in the country. The announcement was made last Monday. This is one of the worst measles infection outbreak in the country for a long time and heated discussions are going on concerning vaccinating people similar to what’s happening in the United States right now.
The baby died on February 18 at the age of 18 months, a Berlin health official told Agence France-Presse in an interview. Since October, there were more than 570 diagnosed measles cases in the capital city alone and this is the first confirmed death.
The return of measles in Germany, which could easily be prevented, which is also happening in some places in the U.S., coincides with the refusal of many parents which belong to anti-vaccination groups, to have their children vaccinated.
Health Minister Hermann Groehe over the weekend said that “the irrational fear-mongering of some vaccination foes is irresponsible.”
“Those who refuse to vaccinate their children endanger not only them but others, threatening serious health problems,” Groehe said.
Just as it is in the U.S. there are no plans at present to force people to submit to measles vaccination.
But they said the government would ensure that parents receive advice on the need for immunizations when children start early child care. Vaccination certificates would also be checked during regular doctors’ visits, a health ministry spokeswoman said.
However health officials said that the government is making plans for parents to receive adequate advice on why they should allow their children to submit for vaccination starting early child care. Doctors will also check the child’s vaccination certificate every time they have their regular checkup.
“If that doesn’t help, other steps will have to be considered,” she added.
The Robert Koch Institute, which is in-charge of Germany’s center for disease control and prevention, revealed that the Berlin wave of infections had “initially affected primarily asylum seekers, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.”
“But now cases of the disease are occurring primarily amid the general population of Berlin,” it said in a statement.
Measles symptoms include fever and skin rashes. In more advanced cases, there are accompanying complications such as pneumonia and brain inflammation.
Many parents are afraid to have their children vaccinated due to a study which linked the vaccine to autism in children although it has been soundly disproven by other studies.
Other reasons include religious beliefs and political affiliations.
Mario Czaja, Berlin’s chief health minister said that measles is a serious disease which was proven by the death of the child. “There are many foes of immunization who dismiss measles as a childhood disease,” he was quoted as saying by national news agency DPA.
Czaja also recommended that adults check whether they were vaccinated. He noted that the rate of immunization in Berlin for children is at 95 percent.
Classes in one high school in Berlin were suspended Monday following a report of measles. Everybody, including students and staff have been asked to show proof that they received measles vaccine when they come back Tuesday during the resumption of classes. .