Measles Deaths in Italy

Breaking News – there are reports of two new deaths in Italy, including a young patient who died of measles encephalitis in 2017 and a young adult with leukemia just last month.

There have been a lot of measles deaths in Europe over the last few years?

How many?

Would you believe over 100?

Measles Deaths in Italy

Among those measles deaths in Europe, there have been at least twelve measles deaths in Italy (five in 2017 and seven in 2018, among just 7,697 cases), all either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, including:

  • a 6-year-old boy with leukemia who caught measles from an intentionally unvaccinated sibling (2017)
  • an intentionally unvaccinated 9-year-old girl with chromosomopathy, which is not a contraindication to getting vaccinated (2017)
  • a 16-month-old girl with chronic medical problems who caught measles while hospitalized for persistent fever and a subsequent bleeding disorder (2017)
  • a 27-year-old woman (2017)
  • a young patient who died of measles encephalitis (December 2017)
  • a 25-year-old unvaccinated mother
  • a 10-month-old unvaccinated boy who likely caught measles when he had been hospitalized for an RSV infection
  • a 38-year-old
  • a 42-year-old unvaccinated man who was immunocompromised
  • a 51-year-old in Sicily
  • a 29-year-old in Sicily
  • a 23-year-old with leukemia in Trieste who had received one dose of the measles vaccine (October 2018)

Why so many deaths in a developed country with a well-nourished population?

Dr. Bob Sears actually reassured parents that measles wasn't deadly in developed countries, neglecting to mention the dozens of people who have died in outbreaks in Europe - another well-nourished population with lower vaccination rates than the U.S.
Dr. Bob Sears actually reassured parents that measles wasn’t deadly in developed countries, neglecting to mention the dozens of people who have died in outbreaks in Europe – another well-nourished population with lower vaccination rates than the U.S.

If you haven’t guessed yet, as in other countries in Europe, we are seeing more deaths from measles simply because folks aren’t vaccinated and more people are getting measles.

Measles is a life-threatening disease, even in an age of modern medicine, indoor plumbing, sewage systems, clean water, whole foods, vitamins and minerals, etc.

Italy, with about 1/5 the population of the United States, but about equal to the size of California, has had over 600 times as many cases of measles as we have had in the United States over the last few years. To put it in perspective, that would be like having 33,000 cases of measles in the United States.

Think it couldn’t happen? During the measles outbreaks from 1989 to 1991, when vaccination rates had dropped, there were 55,622 cases and 123 deaths in the United States.

Measles in Italy

Again, in Italy, as in other places, almost all of the measles cases, about 90%, have been in those who aren’t vaccinated.

In response to a post praising Italy's decision to dilute their new vaccine laws, some folks thought it was funny that people were dying of measles.
In response to a post from Dr. Bob Sears praising Italy’s decision to dilute their new vaccine laws, some folks thought it was funny that people were dying of measles.

That’s why they passed new vaccine laws – to get back to herd immunity levels of vaccination.

But shouldn’t folks have a choice about getting vaccinated?

Of course.

Even with the new vaccine laws, parents have a choice. As with vaccine laws in the United States, Italy’s new vaccine mandates had nothing to do with forced vaccination.

That’s unlike most of the people who died of measles in Italy. Most of them didn’t have a choice about being vaccinated and getting measles. Some were immunocompromised and couldn’t be vaccinated and at least one was too young to be vaccinated.

Parents had been set a July 10th deadline to provide schools with the relevant documentation, but it will now be possible for parents to simply submit their own confirmation that the child has been vaccinated, according to Giulia Grillo, Italy’s Health Minister, who was speaking at a press conference on Thursday.

Mandatory vaccinations: Italian parents will no longer need to provide doctor’s note

And that’s why it’s unfortunate that the a newly elected government severely watered down a vaccine law that had made getting vaccinated mandatory to go to school.

And it’s unfortunate that people continue to push misinformation about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases.

What to Know About the Measles Deaths in Italy

A drop in vaccination rates has led to measles outbreaks and a number of measles deaths in Italy.

More on Measles Deaths in Italy

Updated November 7, 2018

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