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KURSK, January 29. /ITAR-TASS/. The number of measles cases has risen to 172 in the Kursk Region, the local department of the federal public health control service Rospotrebnadzor told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
The infection is believed to be carried to the region by a 20-year-old female student of a Moscow institute. The girl is a parishioner of a church of the Council of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists. Shortly before the New Year holidays, she attended meetings of her community in the city of Zheleznogorsk. At the time, the girl already was an infection carrier.
People of the community, referring to their religious belief, flatly refuse to be vaccinated, the chief of Rospotrebnadzor's regional epidemiological monitoring department, Mikhail Bernshtein, told reporters. They rejected vaccination and medical assistance that could stop the infection from spreading among children and adults, he noted.
A presbyter of the Evangelical Christian Baptists' Church in Kursk, Sergei Malov, told reporters that not all local members of the church refused to be vaccinated. The religion does not prohibit vaccination. There is no such prohibition in the Bible. It is up to everyone whether to be vaccinated or not, he noted.
Rospotrebnadzor last week warned that the measles situation was alarming in the country. Measles cases were reported in 58 Russian regions last year.
Acting Rospotrebnadzor chief Anna Popova told reporters on Wednesday that the measles rate increased by 10% in Russia in 2013 as compared to 2012. She urged not to ignore vaccination for children as well as adults, particularly in the districts with infection outbreaks.