A measles outbreak is spreading across a Washington county known for choosing not to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency.
Texas state representative Bill Zedler says a resurgence of measles across the U.S. isn’t worrying him.
Zedler, R-Arlington, is promoting legislation that would allow Texans to opt out of childhood vaccinations.
“They want to say people are dying of measles. Yeah, in third-world countries they’re dying of measles,” Zedler said, the Texas Observer reports. “Today, with antibiotics and that kind of stuff, they’re not dying in America.”
There is currently no treatment for measles, which is a highly contagious virus that can be fatal. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and can’t kill viruses.
Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking six measles outbreaks across the nation, including one in Texas.
Before the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was available in America, about 450 to 500 people died from measles each year. The CDC reports there has been at least one case of a measles death within the past five years. National and world health officials worry that the anti-vaxx trend could increase that number.
The CDC recognized that the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24-months-old has been gradually increasing. People choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat in 2019, the World Health Organization reported.
Some parents opt not to vaccinate because of the discredited belief vaccines are linked to autism. The CDC said that there is no link and that there are no ingredients in vaccines that could cause autism.
Alan Melnick, director of public health for Clark County, Washington, told USA TODAY if pockets of unvaccinated people in the U.S. grow, there could be more measles deaths. Clark County, an anti-vaxx hotspot, is currently battling a public health emergency as more than 60 people, mostly unvaccinated children, in the area have measles.
Measles is so contagious that 90 percent of unvaccinated people who come in contact with an infected person will get the virus. The measles two-dose vaccine is 97 percent effective against the virus, according to the CDC.
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