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MALTATODAY 18 August 2019

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KURT SANSONE MEASLES has returned among unvaccinated adults born after 1998 to a generation of parents influenced by a fake study that linked the MMR vaccine to au- tism. Infection figures released last week by the World Health Or- ganisation showed that mea- sles cases in Malta jumped up a whopping 500% in the first half of 2019. The vast majority of the 31 measles cases recorded so far, this year, were in adults over 16 years. These were the children born at the time when now-dis- graced British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, published a study that linked the MMR vaccine (a three-in-one vaccine against mumps, measles and rubella) to autism. This study was debunked 12 years later and Wakefield also lost his warrant. Malta had eradicated mea- sles and rubella but after five imported cases in 2018, the figures increased this year, emulating European trends, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said. "We expected this to happen because we are not immune to what is happening in Europe… the ma- jority of cases recorded this year form part of the cohort of people who were born dur- ing the period when the anti- vaccine movement started and their parents may have refused or missed on vaccinating their children," Gauci told MaltaTo- day. She dispelled the suggestion that the problem was a result of the growing foreign popula- tion. "Only seven of the cases involved foreign nationals." There are no statistics to sug- gest how many people born in the aftermath of the 1998 vac- c i n e scare are not immunised against measles but the situation suggests this is a relatively small group. "Measles is highly contagious and the epidemiological pic- ture we have points to a rela- tively small group of unvac- cinated people; otherwise we would have seen the measles virus spread at a much faster rate," Gauci said. maltatoday 2 today SUNDAY • 18 AUGUST 2019 • ISSUE 1033 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.95 today today Murdered drug runner's family files rights claim weeks before trial Eileen Montesin Q&A MT2 YOUR FIRST READ AND CLICK OF THE DAY WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING Find out what everything costs and how it compares to the rest of Europe 12-13 BEACH BUM Why Matteo Salvini and Italy's strongman turn is bad news for countries like Malta 14-15 'Unacceptable for parents to leave child unvaccinated unless there is a valid medical reason, such as cancer treatment' – Public Health chief Prof. Charmaine Gauci PAGE 4 Measles return among children of vaccine scare generation Measles' fi ve-fold increase in 2019, vast majority of 31 cases found in adults over 16 MATTHEW VELLA THE family of a murdered drug run- ner has filed a human rights breach case, claiming the jury that will try the man accused of his murder is not well-equipped to reach a proper ver- dict and would breach their right to a fair hearing. The mother and sisters of 26-year- old Roderick Grech, stabbed to death by 38-year-old Etienne Bartolo, aka 'il-Vojt', filed their claim this week – just two weeks before Bartolo faces a trial by jury. Bartolo was charged with the mur- der in March 2017, after Grech suc- cumbed to stab wounds in an argu- ment over an unpaid debt for drugs. Police sources who spoke to Mal- taToday say they were floored by the Grech family's request, filed by law- yer Franco Debono, claiming it risked upending the forthcoming trial by jury. "The family is insisting that jurors are not skilled in reaching a proper legal verdict and that as parte civile they have limited input in the At- torney General's prosecution during the trial. But it's an eleventh-hour re- quest… not by the defendant but by the family of the victim: why?" On his part, Debono – who had al- ready filed a similar constitutional case in 2018 for the accused in a mur- der trial – told MaltaToday he would not comment on the case. not comment on the PAGE 3 Interview PAGES 16-17

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