“When I grew up, I had a lot of these illnesses,” Zedler recalled, according to the Texas Observer. “They wanted me to stay at home. But as far as being sick in bed, it wasn’t anything like that.”
“They want to say people are dying of measles,” he added. “Yeah, in third-world countries they’re dying of measles. Today, with antibiotics and that kind of stuff, they’re not dying in America.”
Antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, cannot kill viruses.
Zedle could not immediately be reached for comment.
Eight measles cases have been confirmed in Texas this year, according to the Department of State Health Services. One of them was reported in Denton County.
There is no known treatment for measles, a highly contagious virus that once sickened millions of patients each year in the United States. Instead, health-care professionals try to prevent the disease by administering the MMR vaccine to children, and certain people who have been exposed, such as pregnant women, may be given a protein injection called immune serum globulin to try to thwart it or to lessen the symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Public health experts have warned against spreading bogus information about vaccines. The anti-vaccine movement has been sustained in part by fraudulent research from 1998 purporting to show a link between a preservative used in vaccines and autism. In the current measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, where anti-vaccine groups have long been active, more than 60 cases have been reported in Washington and Oregon.
Earlier this month, Darla Shine, wife of White House communications director Bill Shine, took to Twitter to claim that illnesses such as measles, mumps and chickenpox “keep you healthy & fight cancer.” Her statement prompted concern from public health experts, who said such erroneous claims could cause harm.
When false information is put on the Internet, “it’s tough to get it off,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Wednesday morning at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“The people who read that information may not know it’s false,” Fauci said. “They may be well-meaning, but the spread of false information is a major problem.”
Before the 1963 introduction of the measles vaccine, 3 million to 4 million patients contracted the disease annually in the United States, and 400 to 500 died, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2000 – almost four decades after parents began vaccinating their children – measles was declared eliminated in the United States.
CDC data shows that from 2000 to 2018, there was an average of 140 measles cases per year. Three fatalities were reported during that time, one in 2002, one in 2003 and one in 2015.
Legislation is introduced each year that would make it easier to opt out of childhood vaccinations. Research has shown, however, that most bills that become law support public health. According to a study published late last year in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers who analyzed proposed and enacted vaccine legislation between 2011 and 2017 found that bills supporting vaccines were more likely to become law, even though there were slightly more bills considered to be anti-vaccine.
There are a number of state measures that would make it more difficult for parents to opt out of immunizations, The Washington Post reported Feb. 25:
“In Washington state, where the worst measles outbreak in more than two decades has sickened nearly 70 people and cost over $1 million, two measures are advancing through the state legislature that would bar parents from using personal or philosophical exemptions to avoid immunizing their school-age children. Both have bipartisan support despite strong anti-vaccination sentiment in parts of the state.
“In Arizona, Iowa and Minnesota, lawmakers have for the first time introduced similar measures. The efforts have sparked an emotional, sometimes ugly response from those protesting what they see as efforts to trample on their rights. Opponents of the Arizona bill, which died quickly, have described the toll of stricter vaccine requirements as a Holocaust and likened the bill’s sponsor, who is Jewish, to a Nazi.
“In Vermont, legislators are trying to do away with the state’s religious exemption four years after eliminating the philosophical exemption. In New Jersey, where lawmakers have sought unsuccessfully to tighten religious exemptions, a bill to repeal it entirely was recently amended on the General Assembly floor.”
Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post