Despite a viral social media post claiming a local child has the first confirmed case of the measles in Grayson County, the county's health department said it has yet to confirm any measles cases as of now.
The measles report was made in a Facebook post that went viral locally. Grayson County Emergency Preparedness Manager Josh Stevenson said there hasn't been a confirmed case of the measles in Grayson County during the five years he has been with the health department.
“We have been watching that social media post as well,” Stevenson said, reiterating that no positive cases of the measles have been confirmed.
Stevenson said each year the CDC releases a list of notifiable diseases. The list includes information on how long, by law, physicians and lab technicians have to report a positive case of certain diseases. In the case of the measles, Stevenson said officials, including the local health department, must be notified immediately in the event that a case has been confirmed.
The claim comes just one day after a confirmed case of the measles in Denton County by Denton County Public Health, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Denton case marks the seventh case confirmed recently in Texas — five involving children, where at least two had received their first round of vaccinations, the paper reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the measles as a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat like an airborne illness. The CDC said the disease is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of those who are not immune that are close to that person will be infected.
Until recently, the disease had been considered eradicated in the U.S.
“With a lower rate of vaccinations, it has been on the incline,” Stevenson said.
Early symptoms for the disease often mirror the cold and flu and can include a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing and a high fever. Between three and five days after transmission, a rash of flat red spots will appear starting at the head and move down the body, the CDC reported.
Jeannine Hatt, a doctor with TexomaCare-Pediatrics, said her practice was inundated with calls all morning Thursday from parents who were alarmed by the possible case of the measles.
“The phones have been ringing off the wall about parents concerned that their child could be exposed and are asking if they can get their vaccines early,” Hatt said.
Hatt said she heard rumors that the potential case of the measles may have originated at Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center. But Cathy Black, WNJ director of marketing and communications, said the hospital has not had any confirmed cases of the measles as of Thursday afternoon.
In most cases, doctors recommend that children are vaccinated for the measles, along with rubella, mumps and chicken pox, between 12 months and 15 months in age. A second booster is recommended between the ages of 4 years and 5 years. Between both vaccines, the protection is estimated to be about 97 percent, Hatt said.
If a child is expected to travel internationally during this period, Hatt said doctors often call for the first vaccination between the ages of 6 months and 11 months. This schedule can also be escalated in areas where an outbreak is ongoing.
However, due to the nature of the pediatric immune system, these early shots would not replace the dose given at 12 months, and this recommended dose would still be needed.