Government officials play down the anti-vaccine sentiment, but all the measles deaths have been in Nigeria’s north, where authorities had to suspend polio immunizations last year after hard-line clerics fanned similar fears of that vaccine.
Nigeria, whose 130 million people make it Africa’s most populous nation, has recorded 20,859 measles cases so far this year. At least 589 victims have died, most of them children younger than 5 and all in the north, the Nigerian Red Cross and the U.N. World Health Organization say.
Southern Nigeria, which is mainly Christian, had only 253 measles cases, and no deaths.
It appears that the United States has no monopoly on anti-science zealots.