Measles epidemic in Dutch Bible Belt

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In the past weeks 230 people in the Netherlands have been infected with measles, Telegraaf reports.

The epidemic is concentrated in the Bible Belt where many Orthodox Protestants live who often refuse to get vaccinated. The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) expects the actual number of cases to be higher because not every sufferer goes and sees a doctor. So far seven people have been admitted to hospital, six of which were children. The RIVM expects the worst is yet to come. A recent measles epidemic in the UK lasted eight months and resulted in 1,219 reported cases and one death.

Municipal health services have started inoculating children ‘on the sly’, NRC reports. The health services have sent letters to Orthodox Protestant parents offering to inoculate their children at home, after school hours. So far a few dozen children have been inoculated this way, only a small percentage of the children of the community.

The Dutch Bible Belt runs from Zeeland in the South West all the way to the topmost tip of Overijssel in the North East, a bit like a spear stuck into the side of country. The Reformed Congregations are the biggest Orthodox Protestant church of the country with 106,002 members. It is the only major church in the Netherlands that is growing, presumably because of a large procreation rate. The largest religion in the Netherlands is ietsism, which accounted for 36% of the population in 2006.

(Public domain illustration via Wikimedia Commons)

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