Denton County Confirms First 2019 Case of Measles in North Texas

What to Know

  • First case in North Texas this year.
  • Case was discovered in Denton County.
  • Measles can be transmitted to others from four days prior to four days after the rash appears.

The Denton County Public Health Department said it has confirmed the first case of measles for 2019 in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

In a health alert, the Department said the patient did not have a history of international travel during the exposure period and has no known contact with a measles case.

Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health, said the patient is a resident of Denton County. He said it's unclear whether they are vaccinated.

Due to patient confidentiality, no further information about the patient was released.

Health Department officials said they are working to contact individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. Officials also said "at this time, this case has not been linked to any other cases."

“Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health. “Unfortunately, people think that measles is just a rash and fever but measles can cause serious health concerns, especially in young children, and is highly contagious. Vaccination is incredibly effective at protecting those we love from this infection.”

Dr. Richardson said local health care providers are being put on alert.

Local schools district are, too. Denton and Lewisville ISD's told NBC 5 they've received a general alert but are not aware of any students diagnosed. 

This case makes the seventh in Texas this year. Five cases have been confirmed in southern Texas, including four children under the age of 2. A sixth was confirmed on Wednesday in Bell County, in central Texas.

On Tuesday, NBC 5 spoke with Tarrant Public Health’s Chief Epidemiologist Russ Jones, who said the number of phone calls from parents and physicians on possible cases has increased in recent days.

"They're watching the media reports. We have more physicians concerned, and if they see a rash, fever or illness they're giving us a call saying, 'We might have an issue here,'" said Jones.

Just last week, a national study published in the Public Library of Science marked Plano and Fort Worth as hot spots for the anti-vaccine movement. Houston and Austin also make the list.

The announcement of the first North Texas case comes after 31 cases of measles were reported in Portland Oregon.

The CDC states measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air via coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat followed by a rash that spreads over the body.

The CDC adds measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not yet immune could become infected. As a highly contagious infection, measles can live in an airspace where an infected person was for up to two hours. Measles can be transmitted to others from four days prior to four days after the rash appears.

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