North Texas

Health Officials Monitor Those Exposed to Measles

Tarrant County Public Health Department officials are waiting to see if more people test positive for the measles after confirming that a person who flew from India to North Texas Jan. 6 has the virus.

TCPH doctors said dozens of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport passengers who came into contact with the person are at risk.

“Our health department is waiting on the CDC to provide us with a flight manifest,” TCPH Director Vinny Taneja said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, public health officials were still waiting on the manifest to determine if there were any local residents that they needed to contact. If none of the passengers who could have been exposed are local, officials will stay focused on people the positive patient met.

The Tarrant County resident had minimal contact with people once he arrived at DFW Airport. Health officials are monitoring his six family members, only one of whom was not vaccinated.

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough and sore throat that appear 10 to 14 days after exposure. A rash typically occurs a few days after initial symptoms appear. The incubation period, according to the CDC, lasts 7 to 21 days.

“Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on the planet,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News. “It stays in the air, it stays on the surfaces for two hours after somebody infectious has been around.”

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the virus making a comeback in recent years because parents are relying on herd immunity from others instead of vaccinating their children.

Those who are current on vaccines do not need to worry about contracting the virus, officials said. Children receive their first vaccine at 1 year old and another round at about 5 years old.

This is the third straight year Tarrant County has had a measles case. One resident tested positive last July after attending a Wichita, Kan., softball tournament. And in fall 2013, 16 Tarrant County residents and five Denton County residents got the measles after a visitor, who had recently traveled overseas, visited a Newark-area mega church.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

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