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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Israel : After years of calm, measles cases spike in northern Israel

Via Haaretz :

" Israel's Health Ministry reports increase of cases after four year period of relative calm; spike partly attributed to families refusing to be vaccinated.

There has been a significant increase in cases of the measles in northern Israel, according to recent research carried out by Israel's Health Ministry.

The study by the ministry's epidemiology department found 96 cases of measles by the end of May 2012, compared to only four cases of the disease in the same period in 2011, 14 in 2010, and two in 2009.

Some 63 of the cases this year – 65 percent - were reported in the north, while 20 percent were in Tel Aviv – some 20 percent - eight cases in the center of the country, four in Haifa, one in Jerusalem, and one in southern Israel.

The reported increase comes after four years of calm. In contrast to the previous country-wide outbreak, the current spike is concentrated in northern Israeli towns where vaccination rates stand at less than 90 percent, among refugees communities in Tel Aviv, and especially among babies who not yet one-year-old - the minimum vaccination age in Israel.

In light of the outbreak, the Health Ministry is now completing immunization programs among populations that refused to be vaccinated in the past, most of which are from small towns in the north. Family members of those suffering from measles are also eligible for preventative vaccination.

A large part of those who refuse to be vaccinated do so on ideological grounds, also citing possible side effects and exposure to toxins."

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