AP Photo/Leo Correa

Rome — School authorities in Italy's Piedmont region have banned several children from attending kindergarten because their parents failed to comply with a government immunization deadline, media reports said.

The children belong to four different families, Italian news agency ANSA has reported. 

Immunisation against highly contagious diseases such as measles, polio, and rubella were made mandatory for kids aged up to 16 years. The number of vaccination went up from four to 10, Xinhua news agency reported. 

Completing these vaccinations are a pre-requisite for children to attend school. 

Read: Vaccines work, do your part

Italy has seen a drop-off in immunisations in the midst of highly organised "no-vax" campaigns claiming that vaccines cause autism.

The populist Five Star Movement and the rightwing League, the two winners of Italy's March 4 general election, have endorsed "no-vax" positions in the past and oppose mandatory immunisations. 

A measles epidemic flared up in Italy beginning in January 2017. Almost 5,000 people were infected and four died, the Health Ministry said.

Of the measles cases, 92 were children under five years old and 28 were infants under 12 months old, while 91 per cent of those affected had not been vaccinated, according to the Superior Institutes of Health (ISS).

Measles, a leading causes of childhood mortality, has the potential for large outbreaks wherever immunization coverage has dropped below the necessary threshold of 95 per cent of the population, the World Health Organization said.

IANS