“I predict measles outbreaks in Texas could happen as early as the winter or spring of 2018”: Peter Hotez, MD, PhD- PLoS Medicine October 25, 2016

The Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr Peter Hotez wrote this prediction in an article in the journal PLoS Medicine a few months ago and he joined me on the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show to talk more about how he came to make this prediction.


What’s going on in Texas?

“Something awful is happening in Texas,” Dr Hotez said. “Texas is becoming the epicenter of what looks like, some neo-antivaxxer movement”. There have been some 50,000 nonmedical or “reasons of conscience” exemptions to school immunization laws, almost double the number of exemptions in 2010.

“We’ve got some school districts and some schools where more than 10-20 percent of kids are not getting vaccinated”, he stated. “Once you get non-compliance in terms of vaccines at that level, we know historically that’s when we start seeing measles outbreaks.”

Hotez also discusses the growing anti-vaccine political movement going on in the state.

Related: How contagious is measles? Answer: Very

Concerning legislative action in Texas concerning non-medical exemption like occurred in California in 2015, Dr Hotez would like to see it, but acknowledges there is no political will right now. “This anti-vaccine movement has gotten so strong and so powerful, things will get worse before they get better.

“It’s very unfortunate, but it’s going to take measles outbreaks to wake people up.”

I also asked Hotez to comment on the Op-Ed from Cleveland Clinic physician, Dr Daniel Neides , for which he said, “I don’t know what planet it dropped down from….it’s the most outrageous piece, I don’t know what was behind that. I mean there’s no scientific basis for it”.

Listen to the whole interview below:

The Outbreak News This Week Radio Show, the first and only radio program dedicated to infectious disease and health news and information, airs every Sunday at 8 pm ET in the Tampa Bay area on AM 1380 The Biz and online at http://1380thebiz.com/

Other interviews with Dr Hotez: