Risk of measles outbreak in Malta should 'concern us all', MEP Roberta Metsola warns

Taking to social media Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola warned that the anti-vaccine movement could not be allowed to gain a foothold in Malta and Gozo 

PN MEP Roberta Metsola
PN MEP Roberta Metsola

The risk of measles breaking out in Malta and Gozo “should concern us all,” Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola warned on Wednesday.

Taking to social media, Metsola wrote that reports that measles was at risk of breaking out in Malta and Gozo, only a few years after it had all but been eradicated “should concern us all.”

“The anti-vaccination movement has been debunked time and again across the world. We cannot allow it to get a foothold,” she wrote, adding that the public should listen to doctors and above all trust science.

This comes in the wake of infection figures released last week by the World Health Organisation showing that measles cases in Malta jumped up a whopping 500% in the first half of 2019.

On Sunday MaltaToday reported that 31 cases of measles had been recorded so far, this year, with the majority of those cases being persons over the age of 16. 

Measles has reportedly returned among unvaccinated adults born after 1998 to a generation of parents influenced by a fake study that linked the MMR vaccine to autism. 

Malta had eradicated measles and rubella but after five imported cases in 2018, the figures increased this year, emulating European trends, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said.

“We expected this to happen because we are not immune to what is happening in Europe… the majority of cases recorded this year form part of the cohort of people who were born during the period when the anti-vaccine movement started and their parents may have refused or missed on vaccinating their children,” Gauci told MaltaToday.

In recent years the anti-vaccine movement has gained momentum in the western world. The movement still holds onto Andrew Wakefield's fake research which linked the MMR vaccine to Autism. 

Gauci advised parents to seek professional medical assistance if they are concerned about vaccines, rather than seek information on the internet or social media.

“It is not acceptable for a parent to leave their child unvaccinated unless there is a valid medical reason, such as a child undergoing cancer treatment. Vaccine hesitancy worries us. There is a small but vocal anti-vaccination lobby that spreads irrational fear about vaccinations but a recent Danish study of over half a million children showed there was absolutely no correlation between MMR and autism,” Gauci said.

EDITORIALMalta is not immune to measles, or ignorance

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