Measles Outbreak in Kursk Region Linked to Religious Parents
At least 78 children have come down with measles in the Kursk region, after their parents refused vaccination for reasons of faith, the local consumer protection department said.
Nine adults have also contracted measles, with the majority of the cases registered in the town of Zheleznogorsk, the department said in an online statement on Thursday.
"All of the patients haven't been vaccinated for religious reasons," the statement said.
The patients appeared to belong to a congregation that the department identified as a local Evangelical Baptist Christian Church.
After the first case of measles was registered in the Kursk region on Dec. 31, 2013, local officials and doctors met with leaders of the church in Zheleznogorsk in an attempt to impress the importance of vaccination, the consumer protection department said in another statement earlier this week.
"Despite the persuasive arguments of the specialists and the obvious need to take preventive measures, all members of the Baptist church have refused vaccination," the statement said.
More than 500 Kursk residents, were vaccinated in the first two weeks of 2014 as part of a set of emergency prophylactic measures in the region, the consumer protection department said.
In the first nine months of last year, a total of 922 cases of measles were registered in all of Russia, according to consumer protection department figures.
Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children worldwide, according to a World Health Organization report.