Measles, also known as rubeola, is an infectious airborne disease caused by the measles virus, which is extremely contagious. It spreads easily through coughs, sneezes, and contact with the infected person’s saliva or nasal secretions. Symptoms appear within 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus and they can include fever, dry cough, conjunctivitis, and skin rashes.
The first version of the measles vaccines was developed during the 1960s, by John Franklin Enders, while searching for a solution to stop many children from dying. As of 2013, 85% of children were vaccinated for measles. However, many parents decline the vaccine, considering it unsafe for their children, which only makes the disease spread even more.
Germany’s Health Minister Proposes Fines For Parents Of Children Unvaccinated For Measles
Germany is one of the countries confronting a potential measles outbreak. Medical experts are concerned that a disease they thought they had control over could cause a major outbreak, imposing major threats to children all over the country. To prevent this, the country’s health minister had to make some drastic changes. Minister Jens Spahn recently declared during an interview that parents of school-age children who can’t prove their children have been vaccinated for measles will receive fines of up to 2,500 EUR. Even more, unvaccinated children will not be allowed anywhere near daycare facilities.
Spahn’s proposal has not been accepted yet, so it’s uncertain if the changes are going to be implemented since vaccinations are a politically sensitive subject in Germany.
In the first 10 weeks of this year, 203 cases of rubella have been reported in Germany, twice as much as last year. Switzerland, which shares a border with Germany, also reported the death of 2 adults caused by the infectious disease. One of the victims was a 30-year-old unvaccinated man, while the other one was a 70-year-old patient whose immune system has been damaged by cancer.
Only last year, there were more than 80,000 cases of measles in Europe, including 72 deaths. Immunization of more than 95% of the population would be enough to contain the measles virus. Unfortunately, unvaccinated people put others at risk of becoming infected.
Dee Mongo is a graduate of UFT. She’s based in Toronto and has written for Maclean’s, Motherboard, the National Post, and the Huffington Post. In her spare time, she plays AC/DC on the ukulele and does psychic readings for B-grade celebrities. Dee is our tech/finance correspondent.