Less than 24 hours after reporting they had zero active measles cases, the Denton County Health Department says they now have five confirmed cases of the disease.
The infected people range in age from 9-years-old to 17-years-old, were not immunized and reside in the Justin area, county officials said. The cases are linked to the Tarrant County outbreak, where the 15 cases were confirmed on Wednesday.
County health officials want to remind everyone that the easiest and most effective way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated.
“For individuals who are unvaccinated, measles cases in the community should be viewed as a warning to strongly consider vaccination,” says Denton County Health Department Director, Bing Burton. “Those who are not currently immunized should re-evaluate the benefits and risks of vaccination, based on the presence of an outbreak.”
Denton County reported two measles cases this spring that were not connected to the most recent outbreak. Prior to 2013, there have not been any known cases of measles in Denton County in recent years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs."
People with symptoms of measles have a fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. The incubation period of measles is about two weeks from exposure to the onset of a rash, the Texas Department of State Health Services said. People are contagious from four days before the onset of a rash to four days after the appearance of rash. The rash usually begins on the face and spreads to the trunk.
It is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing and is so highly contagious that any child who is not immune and is exposed to the virus should expect to contract the virus. With that in mind, health officials are urging those who are susceptible to the disease to get immunized.