Saturday, January 14, 2017

Measles in Texas

An article published by Outbreak News Today on January 14th, 2017 states that due to large anti-vaccination movement in Texas, public school systems are under risk of measles outbreaks. According to Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, there have been approximately 50,000 non-medical vaccine exemptions in Texas, which is almost double the amount of exemptions as 2010. There are schools in which 10-20% of the student population is not vaccinated, and this environment is conducive to measles outbreaks due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. Dr. Hotez would like to see changes in legislative action to encourage vaccinations; however, the anti-vaccination movement in Texas has become so strong that Dr. Hotez fears that a measles outbreak might be a way for parents to realize the negative consequences of not vaccinating their children.

A separate article released by the Kera News on January 4th, 2017 states a similar message that both mumps and measles will place Texas at the heart of the vaccination debate. While mumps may not be as fatal, measles can cause hundreds and thousands of deaths in the United States when students do not receive vaccinations. In the past several months, there have been mumps outbreaks in Texas at Halloween parties and cheerleading competitions in North Texas. These mumps outbreaks can serve as an alarm for future outbreaks involving measles. The article brings up previous measles outbreaks when approximately 150 people were diagnosed with measles after visiting Disney Theme parks in Anaheim in 2015. Hotez points out that out of the 2.5 billion vaccine doses that were administered in the United States, there were only 2,000 complications, which means that a person is four times more likely to be struck by lighting than experience a vaccine complication. Hotez states that a variety of factors have influenced the anti-vaccine movement including conspiracy theorists such as Jenny McCarthy and arguments regarding civil liberties. While these factors exist, less children are being vaccinated and more cases of vaccine-preventable diseases will occur.

Check out the articles here:

~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)

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