Texas state Representative Bill Zedler doesn’t understand the fuss over the resurgence of infectious diseases. “When I grew up, I had a lot of these illnesses,” he said, listing measles, mumps and chickenpox. “They wanted me to stay at home. But as far as being sick in bed, it wasn’t anything like that,” said Zedler, an outspoken anti-vaxxer and longtime member of the House Public Health Committee who has worked in the health-care industry. The only lawmaker with an A++ rating from Texans for Vaccine Choice, he was born in 1943, two decades before the measles vaccine was developed. During Zedler’s childhood, about 450 people died of measles each year in the United States, 48,000 were hospitalized and a few million more got the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963 virtually eliminated measles in the United States by 2000.
“They want to say people are dying of measles. Yeah, in third-world countries they’re dying of measles,” Zedler said, shaking his head. “Today, with antibiotics and that kind of stuff, they’re not dying in America.” Zedler says he’s adamantly in favor of “freedom of conscience” and against mandatory vaccination. “This is not the Soviet Union, you know.”
Zedler represents Arlington, TX. That’s not some podunk town.
Measles is a virus. Many of the deaths from measles infection, along with the life-long complications, are due to viral infection, not secondary bacterial infections. In other words, antibiotics won’t do anything. And measles does kill: during a wave of infections between 1989 – 1991 that led to 55,000 infections, at least 123 people were killed (and 11,000 were hospitalized).
They are going to get people killed. Both sides are not doing it.