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Feature Communicable Disease

Compulsory vaccination and growing measles threat

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 20 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3429

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Re: Compulsory vaccination and growing measles threat - Prof Melegaro's response

Prof Melegaro might like to consider that irrespective of vaccination status four deaths from measles in eight months is not necessarily a great success for the Italian medical system compared with the British (Andrew Wakefield and all). According to a British government website we have only four deaths in twenty-five years. I quote:

"Prior to 2006, the last death from acute measles was in 1992. In 2006, there was 1 measles death in a 13-year-old male who had an underlying lung condition and was taking immunosuppressive drugs. Another death in 2008 was also due to acute measles in an unvaccinated child with a congenital immunodeficiency, whose condition did not require treatment with immunoglobulin. In 2013, 1 death was reported in a 25-year-old man following acute pneumonia as a complication of measles. In 2016, one death was reported in a 10-month-old infant who suffered complications due to a secondary infection.

"All other measles deaths since 1992 shown above are in older individuals and were caused by the late effects of measles. These infections were acquired during the 1980s or earlier, when epidemics of measles occurred."

It is vastly troubling that the Italian Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, is on record as stating that 270 children died in London of measles in a recent year, " ricordi di sono di morbillo che'n Londra all'Inghilterra la scorso anno morte due cento settanta bambini" (...reminds me regarding measles that two hundred and seventy children died last year in London in England..) [2]. She was complaining about people getting false information off the internet.

[1] Public Health England, 'Measles deaths by age group: 1980 to 2016 (ONS data)',

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 October 2017
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22