Two Measles Cases Reported in Tarrant County

Relatives contracted the disease while overseas

By Chris Van Horne
|  Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013  |  Updated 4:32 PM CDT
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The last time Tarrant County had a measles case was in 2011. The disease has been considered eliminated in the United States since 2000.

Ben Russell, NBC 5 News

The last time Tarrant County had a measles case was in 2011. The disease has been considered eliminated in the United States since 2000.

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Tarrant County Reports Two Cases of Measles

Two cases of the highly contagious measles virus have been found Tarrant County.
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A rare and highly contagious illness was reported in Tarrant County back in July when an adult and child living in the northern section of the county contracted measles.

The adult and child, who are related, reportedly contracted the virus after one of them traveled overseas to a country where measles is common. The two are no longer showing symptoms and have made a full recovery.

The last time Tarrant County had a measles case was in 2011. The disease has been considered eliminated in the United States since 2000.

However, Tarrant County Public Health officials want to alert the public because they could have exposed others to the disease, which is highly contagious to those who have not received immunizations.

Health officials also put out this information to let doctors know, as it's something some doctors haven't seen. Public health officials said these cases were only caught because of an "astute clinician" who was able to diagnose the measles.

"We've done a lot of work to eliminate measles in the United States, so we would like to maintain that," said Russell Jones, the county's chief epidemiologist. "Measles is a huge childhood disease and kills lots of children in other parts of the world. We don't want that here. So, the idea is that we find their contacts and to contain it, keep it from spreading further."

Texas schools require immunizations for measles, but do allow for some exceptions. If you are immunized, though, the chance of getting the disease is very low.

Approximately 200 Tarrant County school children were immunized from measles and other public health risks at a "Back to School" immunization clinic at Arlington's North Davis Church of Christ Thursday.

Marquita Phillips, a mother of three, brought her oldest to the clinic and said she will follow suit when shots for the younger two are required.

"Because it's three of them, and if one gets it it spreads to the rest of them and then me," Phillips said.  "And I didn't have 'em when I was coming up [so] I don't want them now."

Health officials have not been able to rule out that everyone who came in contact with the two didn't get the disease. Jones said some people think they are immune, but don't have records to prove it and that could lead to more people possibly getting the disease.

The measles can cause a cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes and a fever. But the tell-tale sign is a red, blotchy rash on the skin.

Measles is preventable with a vaccine.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone get two doses of the MMR. If you're not sure you've received the vaccine, you should talk with your doctor.

NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.

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