Waiting for a Measles Epidemic

CNN has a comment from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the recent measles outbreaks in Washington and Oregon. This was a predicted disaster waiting to happen, given that these two states are in the top five nationally for the percentage of children who have nonmedical exemptions from compulsory vaccinations. Last year Peter Hotez and several collaborators produced a risk map for vaccine-preventable diseases based on nonmedical exemption data:

Vaccination Avoidance Hotspots (from Olive, J. K., Hotez, P. J., Damania, A., and Nolan, M. S. 2018. The state of the antivaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and counties. PLoS Medicine 15(6): e1002578).


Our own Travis County figures prominently in this map. We are waiting for our very own measles epidemic. Austin, TX along with Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, all bastions of liberal thinking are among the cities with the highest nonmedical vaccine exemption rates. Just goes to show that liberal politics is no guarantee against scientific stupidity.

I will have more to say on Texas’ antivaccination movement later.

2 Replies to “Waiting for a Measles Epidemic”

  1. I am not sure why this is the best of the blog posts for this question but there is one connection: for all the advances in molecular medicine there is as yet no specific medication for measles. Nevertheless, I remain very enthusiastic about molecular biology. Mostly, though, my assessment comes from its intellectual achievement, making a purely physical biology plausible, and not really from its achievements in medicine.


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