Low vaccination rates prime Texas for measles resurgence, says expert

Texas may be headed for a significant increase in measles cases, according to the research of Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, a professor in the department of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"Measles vaccination coverage in certain Texas counties is dangerously close to dropping below the 95 percent coverage rate necessary to ensure herd immunity and prevent measles outbreaks," wrote Dr. Hotez in a research paper published in PLOS.

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According to KXAN, 45,000 Texas students opted out of school-required vaccines in 2016, marking a 9 percent increase from the year before. The declining immunization rates have caught the attention of Texas lawmakers. State Representative Donna Howard (D) plans to introduce legislation that would require parents to confer with a physician before deciding to leave their children unvaccinated, according to KXAN.

Measles, which primarily affects children, is an extremely contagious disease characterized by high fever and generalized rash all over the body. It is passed via direct contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of infected individuals. The virus is so contagious, 90 percent of those without immunity who come in close contact with an infected individual will contract the illness, according to the CDC.

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