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Measles doubter must pay doctor €100,000

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David Bardens all smiles after court ruling. Photo: DPA
15:48 CET+01:00
A regional court has decided that a biologist must pay a doctor €100,000 after the resolution of a bizarre dispute over the very existence of the measles virus.

Back in 2011, biologist and vaccination sceptic Stefan Lanka posted a notice on the internet saying that if anyone could send him scientific evidence proving the measles virus, he would pay them €100,000.

This is exactly what doctor David Bardens did, emailing the biologist a comprehensive study published in a renowned journal on the measles virus.

However Lanka then refused to pay the sum, which is why the matter ended up in court. On Thursday the regional court in Ravensburg in southern Germany ruled that the sceptic must cough up because all the criteria of his advertisement have been fulfilled.

Lanka has since said that he will be appealing the decision. In the original advert he wrote the following: 

"Because we know that the "measles virus" doesn’t exist, and according to biology and medical science can't exist, and because we know the real cause of measles, we want the reward to get people to enlighten themselves, for the enlightened to help the less enlightened and for the enlightened to influence those in power."

This bizarre case comes in the context of the recent measles outbreak in Berlin. The State Office for Health and Social Affairs in the capital has reported 782 cases since October. Most of those infected were not immunized.

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The outbreak sparked debates about the possibility of compulsory vaccinations to fill the so-called "immunization gap", especially after an 18 month-old infant died from the virus in February.

Such measures are seen as a last resort, but the outbreak is showing no signs of subsiding with around 20 cases being reported daily.

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