Measles epidemic hits Jewish community
26 June 2008
BELGIUM – Antwerp’s Jewish Quarter is currently suffering an epidemic of measles. The medical magazine "De Huisarts" reports that the outbreak started last year when several Jewish children became infected during a summer camp in Britain.
Around 138 cases of measles have been reported in the meantime, 130 of which involved Jewish children. The high number of cases is remarkable, as normally all children living in Belgium are vaccinated against the disease.
However, Dr Michèle Langendries writes in "De Huisarts" that many Jewish children are not vaccinated. She adds that most children in Belgium are vaccinated twice, once at 12 months and once at the age of 11.
The second injection is normally offered free of charge by their school’s Centre for Educational Welfare (CLB). However, many of Antwerp’s orthodox Jewish children attend traditional faith schools where there is no CLB. Consequently, they miss out on their second injection.
The Jewish community has now launched an inoculation campaign in cooperation with schools and doctors.