Medicine

Measles cases reported in several Houston-area communities

Measles cases reported in several Houston-area communities

Even though Arizona does not now have a reported case of measles, the state has one of the highest rates of exemptions for at least one vaccine that's required for childcare, kindergarten or sixth grade.

Outbreaks, or clusters, of measles cases are typically due to exposure in foreign countries that do not have the same robust vaccination programs as the United States, Espinoza said.

Rita Espinoza, the chief epidemiologist at Metro Health, said health care providers, emergency rooms and school districts are among those that need to remain vigilant, even though Bexar County has not seen a case of measles since 2007. The Houston Chronicle reports health officials were told the four children who fell ill had received their first of two measles vaccines.

"To investigate to identify maybe where they went right away so that we can start notifying the public, you know, that these places you may have been exposed to measles", Christ said. That includes attending church by video feed and working with employers.

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The people involved in these new cases stayed home while contagious, so there are no new public exposure sites where people might have come in contact with the disease. The virus spreads through the air and can linger for up to two hours in an isolated space.

Espinoza said the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine, is 97 percent effective. One person had one dose of the vaccine, which is 93 percent effective.

According to Montgomery County officials, a 2-year-old girl is recovering from the disease. Three times as many people have gotten vaccinated in January - from 200 per day in 2018 to 600 per day in 2019. "It has also raised an awareness that measles could easily make a comeback, and the only way to prevent that is to get as many people vaccinated as possible".

Health officials are encouraging everyone to protect themselves from the virus by being vaccinated.