In the midst of an anti-vaccine movement and relentless measles outbreaks in the United States, a Texas lawmaker falsely suggested that antibiotics could be used to treat the deadly disease in the child.
In Texas, Representative Bill Zedler (R), an anti-vaxxer who promotes legislation allowing parents to more easily evade vaccination of their children, said he had measles when he was a child.
"When I grew up, I had a lot of these diseases," recalls Zedler, according to the Texas Tribune. "They wanted me to stay home, but to be sick in bed, it was not at all the same."
"They mean people are dying of measles," he added. "Yes, in third world countries, they die of measles. Today, with antibiotics and this kind of products, they do not die in America. "
Zedler, representing an area including Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth, could not be contacted immediately for comment by the Washington Post.
There is no known cure for measles, a highly contagious virus that has made millions of patients sick in the United States every year. Instead, health professionals try to prevent the disease by administering the MMR vaccine to children, and some exposed people, such as pregnant women, may receive an injection of protein called immunoglobulin (globulin serum) to try to prevent it. counteract or reduce it. the symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Antibiotics, used to treat bacterial infections, can not kill viruses.
Public health experts have warned against spreading false information about vaccines, contributing to an anti-vaccine movement supported in part by fraudulent research in 1998 claiming to demonstrate a link between a preservative used in vaccines and vaccines. 39; autism. In the current measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, where anti-vaccine groups are active, more than 60 cases have been reported in Washington and Oregon.
In Texas, Zedler State, eight cases of measles have been confirmed.
Earlier this month, Darla Shine, the wife of the White House's director of communications, Bill Shine, went on Twitter, claiming that diseases such as measles, mumps, and chickenpox "keep you healthy and fight cancer". His statement sparked the concern of public health experts who said: such erroneous claims could cause harm.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said Wednesday morning at a hearing before the House Committee on Commerce and the energy that spreading misinformation plays an important role in these outbreaks. Fauci said that when false information is published on the Internet, "it is difficult to delete it."
"People who have read this information may not know it's wrong," he said. "They may be well-intentioned, but spreading false information is a major problem."
Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963, it was estimated that between 3 and 4 million patients contracted the disease each year in the United States – and about 400 to 500 died, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2000, nearly four decades after parents began vaccinating their children, measles was declared eliminated in the United States.
Data from the CDC show that between 2000 and 2018, there was an average of 140 measles cases per year in the United States. Three people died during this period: one in 2002, one in 2003 and one in 2015.
Every year in the United States, anti-vaxxers introduce legislation that would facilitate the removal of childhood vaccines. However, research has shown that most bills that have the force of law support public health.
According to a study published late last year by the American Journal of Public Health, researchers who analyzed vaccine legislation proposed and promulgated between 2011 and 2017 found that the draft laws on vaccines were more likely to become vaccines, although a slightly higher number were considered to be bills. anti-vaccine.
As the Washington Post's Lena Sun reports, a number of state measures would further prevent parents from evading immunization.
In Washington State, where the most serious measles epidemic of the last two decades has made nearly 70 people sick and costing over a million dollars, the lawmaker of Washington has been ill. State took two measures that would prohibit parents from availing themselves of personal or philosophical exemptions for not vaccinating their school-aged children. the children. Both have bipartite support despite strong anti-vaccination sentiment in some parts of the state.
In Arizona, in Iowa and Minnesota, lawmakers have for the first time introduced similar measures. Efforts resulted in a moving, sometimes ugly reaction from those protesting what they saw as an attempt to trample on their rights. Opponents of the Arizona bill, who passed away quickly, called the holocaust the burden of stricter vaccine requirements and compared his godfather, a Jew, to a Nazi.
In Vermont, lawmakers are attempting to abolish the state's religious exemption four years after the elimination of the philosophical exemption. In New Jersey, where lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to tighten religious exemptions, a bill to repeal it entirely was recently amended at the general assembly level.
Lena Sun contributed to this report.
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