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Italian Wages Twitter war against Vaxxer



The anti-Vaxx fraud, which claims that life-sustaining vaccines actually cause autism in children, has spread in recent years in Italy and beyond, and the number of parents refusing to protect their children has increased dramatically increases deadly diseases.

In a Twitter war on conspiracy theories, a 56-year-old doctor in Italy has become an unlikely celebrity, perhaps even a future political figure.

Roberto Burioni does not speak

"I do not mind talking to people who spend five minutes with Google and want to teach me something about virology I've studied for 35 years," he told Sky News in an interview , [19659002] "Science is not a democracy."

  Roberto Burioni
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Roberto Burioni has become a social media celebrity

Anti-Vaxxers are "idiots" and "fools," he writes on Twitter, and children of anti-Vaxxers should not to be admitted to the public school. For those who argue about medical advances, he says, "Go to the root canal without anesthetics."

For his followers, he is the voice of reason trying to save the science of ignorance: nearly 450,000 people follow his Facebook page almost as much as they like.

He has 76,600 followers on Twitter, and his books – the latest Balle Mortali (Deadly Lies) – are bestsellers in Italy.

But for his enemies, he is an arrogant man whose aggressive tone stifles debate only.

Conspiracy theorists say he's in touch with Big Pharma. In social media, he was called a fascist, Satan worshiper and also many obscene things.

He even received death threats directed against both him and his seven-year-old daughter, he said.

"It's unbelievable, really disturbing," he says. "It's like being threatened to say smoking is bad for your health."

"Complacency and Untruths"

Italy was a perfect vessel for anti-Vaxx myths.

After centuries of political instability, many Italians suspect any official claim. And the current government, a coalition of the populist 5-star movement and the right-wing league, was ambiguous when it came to vaccinations.

  Vaccination
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Two doses of MMR are recommended

Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister of the country, said a series of ten vaccinations were "useless and in many cases dangerous".

However, the government has maintained the vaccination law, which dates back to the planned scrapping plans of the measures.

In Italy, measles cases have risen from just over 250 in 2015 to over 5,000 in the last year. In the first nine months of 2018, the number of cases recorded was almost 2,300.

In 2010, the vaccination density was 90.6%, but in subsequent years it dropped to 85.2% in 2015. Now it has again increased to 87.3%.

The anti-Vaxx movement goes far beyond Italy.

Public Health England reported an increase in the number of lab-confirmed measles cases – from 259 last year to 913 in the first nine months of this year

And while it stresses that the outbreak is under control, it has become public recommended that both vaccines be given for MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

In England, 87% of children receive two doses, just before the 95% target.

And it was UK-born former physician Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked the MMR vaccine to autism in a 1998-backed study.

The research was now completely discredited and withdrawn from the medical journal Lancet, and Mr. Wakefield had revoked his doctor's license.

But false information circulates and thrives on the Internet, fueling the movement of anti-Vaxxers in many cases with populist movements.

  Dr. Andrew Wakefield
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Dr. Andrew Wakefield
19659009] The World Health Organization warned of measles in the past month, especially in Europe and Latin America, partly because parents abhor vaccines.

Approximately 173,000 measles cases were officially reported in 2017, more than 30% over the previous year, the UN agency said in a report.

An estimated 110,000 people died, mainly children.

Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive of Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, said: "The increase in measles cases is deeply worrying, but not surprising."

He cited "complacency over the disease and the spread of lies about the vaccine in Europe" among the Factors that drive the spike.

Roald Dahls letter: "In 12 hours was dead" [19659042] Roald Dahl pictured in 1971 “/>

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The author of Charlie And The Chocolate 1971

Dr. Burioni, professor of microbiology and virology at the prestigious Vita Salute University of San Raffaele in Milan, has watched the progression of an avoidable disease.

Finally he began to answer.

"We all forgot how horrible these preventable diseases are, thank goodness," he told Sky News.

"As a doctor, I saw children die from measles, which led me to believe that my duty as a scientist, as a citizen, and as a father should make my voice heard, and so have I."

In one of his social media posts, he referred to Roald Dahl's letter about the death of his seven-year-old daughter, Olivia, on Measles in 1962.

The author wrote, "I noticed that her fingers and mind did not work together and they do nothing "Do you feel well?" I asked her "I feel drowsy," she said, "She was unconscious in an hour, she was dead in twelve hours" [Dahl]

who wrote the letter in 1986 advocated vaccinating children and told parents, "What are you worried about? It's almost a crime to give your child the opportunity not to be immunized."

A good candidate?

Dr. Burioni has recently launched an Italian-language website to identify medical truths beyond immunization.

  Roberto Burioni
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A future in politics for Roberto Burioni?

Whether the good doctor is a good candidate remains controversial.

For now he has kept out of party politics.

In national politics elections in March last year, the center-left Democratic Party urged him to run their ticket, but Dr. Burioni refused on the grounds that he could fight as an independent better against ignorance.

"As scientists, we may have overlooked power and have not explained things," he says.

"But we must: We must not leave the social media to those who say the earth is flat and the human never enters the moon."


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