Health officials are urging residents to get measles vaccinations because of the number of cases so far this year. (File)
AUSTIN (August 18, 2013)--Texas health officials issued a statewide measles alert after more than a dozen cases were reported so far this year and urged immunization against the highly contagious illness.
At least 14 cases have been confirmed in Texas so far this year, nine in the past week in Tarrant County, alone.
Dallas and Denton counties each reported two measles cases to the state and Harris County reported one.
No measles cases were reported last year.
Six were confirmed in 2011.
Measles can be spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing and is so contagious that anyone who’s not immune or immunized and who’s is close to a person who has it has a 90 percent chance of catching the virus.
The incubation period is about two weeks from exposure to onset of a rash that usually begins on the face and spreads to the trunk.
Those who have the measles are contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears.
Other symptoms of measles include a fever of more than 101 degrees, a cough, runny nose and sore eyes.
Vaccination even shortly before or after exposure could prevent the disease or lessen symptoms in those who are infected.