German measles hit Bible belt school

At least 11 children at a primary school in the Dutch Bible belt have been diagnosed with German measles, the public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday.

The Bible belt is already affected by an outbreak of measles among children who have not been vaccinated on religious grounds.

German measles is not as dangerous to children as measles but can cause birth defects in babies exposed to the virus while in the womb.

In 2004 and 2005, there was a German measles outbreak in the Bible belt and 32 pregnant women contracted the disease. Two of their babies died and 14 others were born with birth defects.

Nevertheless, the RIVM’s director Roel Coutinho said the risk to pregnant women is ‘not great’. All 11 cases are in children born after the last outbreak, which would indicate everyone who was not vaccinated in 2005 was infected at that time, he told news agency ANP.

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