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World Health Organization calling anti-vaxxers threat to global health, could affect Texas

According to the World Health Organization, people choosing not to vaccinate their children is a threat to global health in 2019. This could affect Texas, one state that has become a hotbed for the anti-vaccination movement. (Photo: NIAID / CC BY 2.0 / MGN Online)

According to the World Health Organization, people choosing not to vaccinate their children is a threat to global health in 2019. This could affect Texas, one state that has become a hotbed for the anti-vaccination movement.

"For the first time now, the anti-vaccine movement is starting to show its effect," said Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Peter Hotez. "It's just a matter of time before we have horrific outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in our state. This is a set-up for a real disaster, unfortunately, a real public health crisis."

Hotez is not surprised to hear the WHO deemed unvaccinated people a threat to global health. He is a leading voice pushing parents to vaccinate their kids, but he says more people choose not to each year.

For the 2017-2018 school year, more than 56,000 students were not vaccinated in Texas. In Travis County schools, almost three percent of students are not vaccinated. That number has gone up each of the last seven years. Now, diseases like measles have made a comeback. There were nine cases in the state in 2018, versus only one in 2016.

"Unfortunately, the anti-vaccine lobby tries to make the case that measles is just a rash. It's actually one of the great killers of children in the world," Hotez said.

Parents are noticing this anti-vaccine trend. They don't want children put at risk.

"It's scary. I think if everyone did their part, we wouldn't have these problems," said Rachel Corneleus. "I think all kids should be vaccinated for immunity. It's good for those kids who cannot be vaccinated. We need to protect the kids."

Hotez is hoping for more parents like this, but he says it will be an uphill battle. "I'm pessimistic. I don't see this ending until we have a terrible outbreak of infectious diseases, and then someone will wake up to say, 'Well, now we have to change it," he said.

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