Italy's vaccine debate shows anti-establishment sway

In Italy, the fight against measles has moved from the doctor's office to the political battleground.

The nation is facing one of its worst epidemics of measles in recent years, reporting a six-fold increase in cases last year that accounted for a quarter of all the cases in Europe.

And yet the government's response — a new law requiring parents to vaccinate their kids against measles and nine other childhood diseases — has become one of the most divisive issues going into March 4 general elections.

Public health authorities are incredulous that the small but loud anti-vax movement has gained traction during an entirely preventable measles outbreak, thanks to an...