The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning people who were at the ShowBiz Cinemas in Waxahachie on Jan. 9 that they may have been exposed to measles.
The health department said a moviegoer saw a movie at the theater that day and that anyone who was there may have been exposed. The exposure risk at the theater was for only Jan. 9 and there is no further risk at the theater, health officials said.
Those who visited the theater that day should monitor themselves for a rash or any other measles symptoms for up to three weeks. Symptoms include: A rash of flat, red spots that typically begins on the face before spreading to the neck, trunk and elsewhere. Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
"Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if someone has it, 90 percent of the people around that person who are not immune will also become infected," the health department said. "The measles vaccine is very effective, about 97 percent after two doses, but a few people who are vaccinated can still get sick, so even vaccinated people should monitor for symptoms."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles can be serious in all age groups but more so for kids under the age of 5 and adults over 20.
Common complications include ear infections, some of which can result in permanent hearing loss. Severe complications may include pneumonia, encephalitis leading to hearing loss or intellectual disability or even death. Pregnant women may give birth prematurely or have a baby with low birth weight.
People are contagious from four days before they get a rash to four days after it appears.
Anyone with these symptoms who was at the theater on Jan. 9 should contact their health care provider and tell them about the exposure to measles. It’s important to call in advance so the provider can take precautions to help prevent staff and other patients from being exposed to measles.
Though rare, more than 100 cases of measles are reported nationally each year, on average.