Measles Outbreak Spreads to 10 States, Including Texas

02.13.2019

childhood immunizations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed more than 100 cases of measles in the U.S. since the start of 2019. The current outbreak of the disease has spread across 10 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

To date, seven cases have been confirmed in Texas by state health officials, locally in the Greater Houston and Central Texas regions. Measles activity has been particularly high in southwestern Washington state, where the governor recently declared a public health emergency. As of February 12, 54 cases of measles had been confirmed in Washington state.

In the majority of affected states, measles has been circulating among people who either have not been vaccinated or those who haven’t had the second dose of the measles vaccine. Measles vaccine is typically given in two doses to children age 12 years and younger. When both doses are given, the measles vaccine is 97 percent effective.

While measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 due to vaccination efforts, subsequent outbreaks have occurred after Americans traveling overseas became infected and brought the disease home with them. This constant threat underscores the risk for measles among unvaccinated persons and the importance of continued vaccination against measles.

What Is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory virus. The virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of infected people and is spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. On average, someone with measles will infect nine in every 10 people they have contact with who do not have immunity.

After an incubation period of about seven to 14 days, early symptoms of measles appear which include a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes.  Two or three days after onset of symptoms, small white spots can appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after these initial symptoms, a rash of small red spots begins to spread all over the skin, starting on the face and moving down the body. The rash usually lasts for three to five days and then fades away.

In uncomplicated cases, people infected with measles start to recover as soon as the rash appears and feel well in about two to three weeks. However, up to 40 percent of patients experience serious and sometimes fatal complications from the virus. These include pneumonia, brain swelling and pregnancy problems. Children under the age of five, adults over the age of 20, pregnant women who have not been immunized, and those with compromised immune systems are at highest risk of serious illness or complications from measles.

Get Immunized at RediClinic

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease. If you or a loved one have not had measles and do not have evidence of immunity, you should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days. Children and adults should also be immunized prior to international travel. RediClinic offers the measles vaccine to patients age 18 months and older. Make an online appointment or walk in today to get immunized!