Health officials in Collin County recently confirmed a patient with a case of the measles to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
That makes the 11 confirmed case of measles in Texas this year, which surpasses the number of cases in the state for 2017 and 2018 combined. In a press release confirming the measles case, the DSHS said officials are “urging health care providers to consider measles when diagnosing patients because early identification, along with immunization, is key to preventing measles from spreading.”
CBSDFW.com reported Collin County health officials said the measles patient is an adult who recently traveled internationally and the confirmed case poses no risk to the public.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. The DSHS said measles is so contagious that if someone has it, 90 percent of the people around that person who are not immune will become infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the DSHS, recommend children get a dose of measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years. The measles vaccine is known to be very effective, about 97 percent, after two doses. Children too young to be vaccinated or who have only had one dose of vaccine are more likely to get infected, the DSHS press release says.
“A hallmark of measles is a rash that begins as flat, red spots on the face and spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body,” the press release states. “Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Anyone who believes they have measles should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.”
The DSHS reports the illness usually starts a week or two after someone is exposed to the virus with symptoms like a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A person is contagious about four days before the rash appears to four days after the rash, so health officials have urged people with measles to stay home from work or school during that period.
Texas had nine confirmed cases of measles in 2018 and one in 2017. Including Texas, the CDC has confirmed 228 individual cases of measles in 12 states so far this year. The CDC’s website classifies three or more cases as an outbreak and said the six outbreaks across the country this year are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring.
“Make sure you are vaccinated against measles before traveling internationally,” the CDC website states.