State Health Officials Confirm More Measles Cases in Tarrant County | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

State Health Officials Confirm More Measles Cases in Tarrant County

Additional cases found in Tarrant County

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    Additional cases of measles have been confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services on Friday. The current total of cases in Tarrant County stands at nine. (Published Friday, Aug. 16, 2013)

    Additional cases of the measles were confirmed Friday by the Texas Department of State Health Services and Tarrant County Public Health, bringing the total in Tarrant County to nine.

    Two people, an adult and a child, contracted the virus earlier this summer after one of them took a trip abroad.  The two are no longer showing symptoms and have made a full recovery.

    Further details have not been made available about the pair, or the latest cases confirmed by the DSHS.

    The latest confirmed cases bring the statewide total number of cases to 14 -- which is the largest outbreak seen in Texas since 1992 when 1,097 were reported.  Elsewhere in Texas, there are two confirmed cases in Dallas County, two in Denton County and one in Harris County (Houston area).

    There were no measles cases reported in 2012 and only six in 2011.

    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 DSHS 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.

    Measles has been largely eradicated in the United States, but health professionals say there is a small population of Americans who may be at risk.

    Right now, the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine is a two shot series. The first shot is given at 12 months. Babies younger than that are at risk. The second shot is a booster and is given at age 4. Originally, the vaccine was just one shot, then it was upped to two shots in the mid 1990s.

    Anita Colbert, a nurse with Immunization Outreach says, “In the mid 90s, they decided that one measles shot was not going to be enough, we needed to booster it.” During the shift to two injections, some people may have missed the second shot.

    When the country moved toward two shots, Universities and colleges made the measles booster mandatory.  Colbert says anyone who graduated high school in the early 1990s who did not attend college may be at risk and should consult their doctor.

    Measles is still common in many other countries and kills nearly 200,000 people a year, according to the CDC.  About one in 10 children with measles will get an ear infection, one in 20 will get pneumonia and one in 1,000 will get encephalitis.  Additionally, one or two out of every 1,000 die from the disease.