In 2011, skeptic Stefan Lanka wanted proof measles was a real virus. When presented proof, he declined payment of prize money, was taken to court, and lost the case. But why is this a story?
As the measles outbreak continues to globally rise, one man looked to debunk the need for vaccinations but has to hand over prize money as promised instead. And earlier this week, German courts ruled if you promise to pay someone for providing evidence, then plan on following through.
The Local reports that in 2011, Stefan Lanka attempted to debunk the need for measles immunization by placing an ad on the internet promising €100,000 ($104, 809.06 USD) to anyone able to disprove his theory that the virus was nothing more than psychosomatic behavior. Doctor David Bardens responded with a well-received, peer-approved comprehensive study on the measles virus with the expectation of payment.
The skeptic chose to invalidate the evidence and not pay out. In response, Bardens sued Lanka and taking him to court in southern Germany.
On Thursday, March 12, 2015, Ravensburg regional court ruled in favor of the doctor and ordered Lanka to pay the €100,000 prize money as his advertisement criteria had been fulfilled. Lanka intends to appeal the decision to a higher court.
Originally, the ad wanted to discredit modern science and claim measles was not a real disease. However, the lack of devastating evidence of measles in recent years may be due to the fact the vaccination has greatly reduced the number and severity of cases.
As anti-vaccination citizens refuse virus intervention, others in need of herd immunity are dying. Last month, a German 18-month-old infant died from the disease. In fact over 782 cases have been reported to the State Office for Health and Social Affairs in Berlin since October. Increases of nearly 20 new cases a day may not seem large in a population of over 80 million, but herd immunity quickly breaks down as those at risk are exposed to the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children first be inoculated between 12 to 15 months of age and then a second time between 4 and 6 years of age. If traveling internationally, the center recommends the first shot between the ages of 6 to 11 months.
Germany is hoping to fill and protect children and other potential patients from discrepancy of the first and second shot by considering compulsory immunization to help fill any gaps in virus coverage. Many factors, such as medical reasons, for delaying or not taking the vaccines leaves a lot of people, especially children, exposed to the horrific effects of measles.
Internationally, the rise in refusing vaccinations has created outbreaks. One of the most recent outbreaks occurred at Disneyland in December 2014. California then witnessed a statewide spike, but experts now believe the number of cases have declined.
The California Department of Health reveals that of the 133 cases of the same or similar strain, 130 of them have ties to the park through visiting or close contact with visitor. Measles can last up to 2 hours outside the body, a difficult problem for community and public settings. Statistics also show that 57 patients were not vaccinated while 20 patients had at least 1 of the vaccinations.
Until a compulsory vaccination is ordered, German disbelievers may face blow if the next court upholds the scientific documentation as acceptable proof. And Lanka may be paying out €100,000 to Bardens for disproving a questionable and dangerous theory.
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Sources: California Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Local