POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES (11.19.2021, 4:50pm CEST, WHO):   India 11,106    Brazil 11,977    United Kingdom 46,858    Russia 37,156    Turkey 22,234    France 19,840    Argentina 1,553    Germany 52,970    Spain 3,932    Columbia 2,257    Italy 10,645    Mexico 3,836    Ukraine 20,050    Poland 23,242    Philippines 1,297    Malaysia 6,380    Netherlands 23,680    Peru 1,370    Thailand 6,855    Czechia 13,374    Canada 2,448    Romania 3,076    Chile 2,611    Serbia 3,219    Sweden 1,210    Portugal 2,398    Vietnam 10,223    Kazakhstan 1,272    Austria 14,212    Hungary 11,289    Greece 7,276    Georgia 4,278    Bulgaria 2,785    Belarus 1,844    Slovakia 7,418    Azerbaijan 2,124    Croatia 7,270    Bolivia 1,119    Ireland 4,646    Lithuania 1,847    Denmark 4,013    South Korea 3,034    Slovenia 3,662    Latvia 1,221    Laos 1,401    China 31    New Zealand 200    Australia 1,302   

Measles cases rise in Turkey amid anti-vaccination sentiment

Staff Writer |
Turkey's experts recently warned that epidemic diseases such as measles that have been off the grid for years might come back amid decreasing vaccination rate in the country in the past few years under the influence of anti-vaccine discourse.

Article continues below




The anti-vaccination trend started with 183 people in 2011, reaching 980 in 2013 and 5,091 in 2015. In 2017, a total of 23,600 families declined compulsory vaccine, professor Mehmet Ceylan, head of pediatric infectious diseases at Ankara's Hacettepe Medical Faculty, said.

The expert warned of an epidemic outbreak if vaccination rate falls under 95 percent, or some 50,000 people in Turkey.

Ceylan said that diseases such as diphtheria and tetanus, which have been off the grid in Turkey for years, might show up again.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also voiced concern about the increasing anti-vaccination movement in Turkey.

An increasing number of groups were "misleading" the public about the effects of vaccines, harming their trust in getting vaccinated, the WHO said.

Turkish health ministry has set up a special website to inform the public about vaccines and to fight false facts. But the anti-vaccination is increasingly active on social media, with slogans such as "I have no obligation to vaccinate."

A great majority is concerned with the content of the vaccines such as use of mercury or aluminum.

It's obligatory in Turkey that a baby to be given a total of 16 different types of vaccination in the first 24 months. Parents have to sign an official document holding them responsible, if they reject vaccination.

Professor Ata Nevzat Yalcin from Akdeniz University's Faculty of Medicine, Infection Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, warned against the latest trend of increasing measles in Turkey.

"The worldwide increase in the disease in 2017 was also observed in our country," he said.

There were 572 measles cases in 2014, 342 in 2015, nine cases in 2016, 69 cases in 2017. In the first nine months of 2018, the number of the cases exceeded 500, he added.

Measles arise especially in the spring and winter months, and can cause recurrent epidemics every two to three years, Yalcin said.

According to the Health Ministry's figures, measles vaccination rate was 97 percent in 2015, 98 percent in 2016, and 96 percent in 2017.

Turkey faced measles outbreak, which was off the grid for many years, compounded by the arrival of millions of refugees after civil war erupted in neighboring Syria.

Some 7,415 people were diagnosed with measles in Turkey in 2013 but the epidemic was prevented after intense vaccination program.

The number of people diagnosed with measles disease reached 510 in the first nine months of 2018 in Turkey, a recent report of the WHO said.


What to read next

Americas declared free of measles
Low vaccination rates fuel the 2015 measles outbreak
Measles outbreaks across Europe threaten progress towards elimination