New Delhi: French microbiologist Philippe Sansonetti warned on Monday that rumours about the ill effects of vaccines were undermining the battle against disease.

“Of late there have been comments on the Internet and horrifying campaigns about vaccines causing diseases," Sansonetti, a professor at the Pasteur Institute in France, said at a conference organized by the French embassy in New Delhi. “Such rumours recently led to the resurgence of measles."

The scientist said it was criminal to let people die by spreading groundless rumours about vaccines.

At the same conference, Sansonetti also spoke on issues related to antibiotic resistance and the Ebola epidemic. Sansonetti, a professor at the Pasteur Institute in France is one of the professors from College de France who will be giving lectures in the coming year in India as part of India-France collaboration.

The French scientist, who has held positions at the World Health Organization, said “it will be a nightmare" if antibiotic resistance is not controlled.

“It is a real threat to see countries of the dimension of India facing resistance to drugs, and this will only multiply the problem," he.

Sansonetti said India was important for microbiologists as it was exposed to all forms of disease faced by third world countries and was also exposed to infections seen in more developed economies.

“It is important to decrypt the interactive mechanism between symbiotic microbes and bad microbes which cause these diseases," he said.

Regarding the development of vaccines for Ebola, the scientist said there were many scientific and technical issues. One, making a vaccine for Ebola was more challenging because it is a complex virus that modifies its genome. Secondly, it is a highly lethal virus.