A new study predicts a large measles outbreak in Dallas and says campuses like Scofield Christian School in Lake Highlands could see a cluster of disease victims. That’s because Scofield is one of more than 70 D-FW schools with reduced vaccination rates, making students and families there vulnerable to a measles outbreak.
The study, published in August in the medical journal “JAMA Network Open,” forecasts 400 people in Dallas falling ill. About 64% of those are expected to be children whose parents refused the vaccine.
“Vaccine exemptions, which allow unvaccinated children to attend school, have increased by a factor of 28 since 2003 in Texas,” the study found. “Further decreases [in the vaccination rate] are associated with dramatic increases in the probability of large outbreaks. Limiting vaccine exemptions could be associated with a decrease in the risk of large measles outbreaks.”
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent the spread of diseases such as measles, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and if a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated, the most susceptible receive limited protection via “herd immunity” – sometimes called “community immunity.” In the past five years, the vaccine exemption rates have more than doubled in Dallas County.
CBS 11 has identified 16 public and 55 private schools in North Texas which reported more than 5% of their student body filed a vaccine exemption last year. You may view their full report here.