Out of interest, I thought I'd X-post this (with permission).  It's from one
of my group members whose husband is Italian and currently working in Italy.
Seems they have heard nothing over there about an "epidemic" in Italy!   Just
goes to show how well the propaganda machine works!  Trying to blackmail us
naughty UK parents into submission!


> Spoke to Raph about this and he said that the area around Naples is a poor
> one... ubt he also said why the big news now, Italy has always had high
> rates of measles and mumps and rubella, how come they are only
> picking up on
> it now?

Measles epidemic has claimed lives abroad

Holiday threat to Scots children

 By Euan Duguid

CHILDREN who have not yet received the MMR vaccine face a major risk of
contracting measles while on holiday abroad.
An epidemic in Italy, where only 53 per cent of children have been
vaccinated against measles, has already killed three people and affected
20,000 more.

In Spain, Scotland's top holiday destination, nearly one third of children
have not received the MMR vaccine and an expert has warned an epidemic
could be on the way there.

According to the World Health Organisation, a 95 per cent vaccination rate
is necessary for national immunity. Recent figures suggest only 68 per cent
of Spanish children have been immunised.

Fuelling fears
In the UK immunisation levels are also falling, fuelling fears that
children on holiday could easily pick up the killer disease.
With just 84 per cent of children aged two receiving MMR, down from 92 per
cent in 1995, Dr Ken Harden, Medical Director of the GP Emergency Medical
Service in Glasgow, voiced his concern.

The former chairman of the Scottish BMA GP committee said, "Anyone who
isn't immunised against measles is at major risk with falling vaccination
levels throughout Europe.

"My recommendation for parents, particularly those going abroad, is to get
their children immunised. There is an epidemic in Italy at the moment and
other countries will follow."  

Dr Harden continued, "Measles is a killer
and there could well be an epidemic in Spain.

"The situation is alarming and it certainly could be only a matter of time
before there is a similar situation in this country if our immunisation
levels continue to drop.Dr Harden believes the problem abroad is a result
of inefficiencies in foreign health services.
"Because of our very efficient primary care system we have higher levels of
immunisation than other countries, but levels are falling because of the
mass hysteria that has been generated."

Despite his concerns, Dr Harden defended the Government stance on MMR.  He
said, "The Government has done everything it possibly can to prevent
falling vaccination levels. We have to look at groups which are exerting
inappropriate pressure on parents not to immunise.

"We also have to look at the media who have been extremely unbalanced in
the presentation of the facts on MMR."
Last night the Scottish Executive could not comment on whether promotional
literature warning holidaymakers of the increased measles risk abroad had
been issued.

However, a spokesman said, "We advise parents travelling abroad this summer
to make sure their children have appropriate vaccination."