A deadly disease that predominately affects children is on the rise in North Texas. Last Friday, the Department of State Health issued a formal alert due to an outbreak of measles in North Texas.
Fourteen cases have been reported: 13 were reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, another was reported in Harris County. There were no cases of measles in Texas in 2012 and just six in 2011. The state of Texas allows parents to refuse immunizing their children.
Russell Hopkins with North East Texas Health says it’s those who are not vaccinated who have cause for most concern.
“Potential exposures because it’s not, it’s not that you have to be enclosed in a small room with somebody, you can just be near somebody for a very short period of time, and you’re considered exposed,” Hopkins said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Texas had 2,112 medical exemptions from vaccines in 2013; that’s more than any other state. Texas also had 4,936 non-medical exemptions this year, bringing that total to 7,048 non-vaccinated persons this year.
According to Hopkins, the outbreak was likely was brought over from another country by an infected person. It’s airborne and highly contagious, which means anybody that person walked by on the street could be infected.
Those with an MMR vaccine are unlikely to catch the disease.
“You potentially have hundreds of people, that you’ve exposed, and without, without high compliance rates, you’re concerned about exponentially more people getting exposed,” he said.
Once infected, a person is contagious even before they show symptoms.
“So you can walk around perfectly healthy looking and be passing that on to other folks.”
He also suggests getting a vaccine to thoroughly protect yourself. No cases have been reported in East Texas thus far, but officials are concerned this disease could spread rapidly.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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