A measles outbreak is spreading in a county in Washington known for not choosing to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency.

Texas lawmaker Jonathan Stickland called the vaccines "witchcraft" Tuesday in a social media article criticizing a vaccine expert.

Stickland – a representative of the state who describes himself as a "Christian conservative" and a "Republican-loving freedom" in his biography on Twitter – commented on this comment as part of a thorough critique of vaccines and of the scientific community.

The exchange began with a tweet from pediatrician Peter Hotez who lamented the upward trend of Texas children without vaccines. Hotez – a vaccine expert and founder of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine – said that "#Texas children have been endangered for financial gain from special interest groups and external ".

"Take care of your things," Stickland told Hotez in part, saying his advocacy for a vaccine was "a rewarding science." "

Hotez said that he was not withdrawing money from the vaccine industry. His role as pediatrician and scientist in Texas made the issue of lifting vaccine exemptions an integral part of his business, he said.

"Advocate your own business of witchcraft with consumers, just like any business," tweeted Stickland. "Stop using the heavy hand of the government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity.It is disgusting."

Stickland claimed that "vaccines are dangerous" and compared the government's involvement in vaccination with communism.

Hotez attributes "an aggressive anti-vaccine lobby" to an increase in the number of Texan children exempt from vaccination, reported Newsweek.

"It seems that some legislations in the Legislature would do almost anything to secure these funds and this recognition, including the endangerment of children and attacks on pediatricians and faculty faculty. of medicine, "Hotez told the publication.

The United States is fighting for a historic resurgence of measles cases. The longer epidemics occur, the greater the chance that measles will become entrenched, health officials warn.

Texas is one of the states that report measles cases in 2019, said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease, which usually kills one or two cases out of 1,000 and can cause long-term damage, has come back largely because of pockets of unvaccinated communities.

Some parents refuse vaccinations because of erroneous information, often spread via social media.

Public health practitioners consider that measles vaccine, given with vaccination against mumps and rubella, is safe and highly effective. It offers a 93% protection after a first recommended dose between 12 and 15 months and 97% after a second injection at 4 to 6 years.

For some skeptics about vaccines, mistrust of Big Pharma and the fear of excessive government authority motivate their opposition.

Contributors: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY & # 39; HUI; The Associated Press; Lindy Washburn, North Jersey record

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