Health officials confirm Central Texas measles case

Published: Feb. 5, 2019 at 4:57 AM CST
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A child who lives in western Bell County has the measles, the Bell County Public Health District confirmed Wednesday.

“The child is not school aged and was too young to have been vaccinated,” the district said in a press release.

“There has been very limited contract with the public,” the district said.

“All family members are up to date on vaccinations.”

Measles has been ruled out in three other possible cases, the district said Wednesday.

Five measles cases have been confirmed in South Texas, four of which involve children younger than 2.

Three of the cases are in the Houston area, one is in Galveston County and another is in Montgomery County.

Vaccination remains the most effective method for preventing measles,” the health district said.

“Measles is highly contagious and early identification remains a critical public health measure to reduce the spread of the disease.”

The MMR vaccine protects against measles as well as mumps and rubella.

Health officials recommend that children get two doses of the vaccine, the first at 12 to 15 months and the second at 4 to 6 years of age.

Teens and adults should also be up to date on MMR vaccinations, the health district said.

Measles vaccination FAQs

Dr. Brian Barkley, a pediatrician at Hillcrest Pediatric Clinic, responded to some questions about measles vaccination:

How contagious is the measles virus?

Dr. Barkley: "It could be someone in a classroom that coughed or sneezed or did something like that. That virus is known to remain airborne for several hours. So if someone went through HEB for example or a Kroger or Walmart and coughed, even a couple of hours ago, then yes, you are kind of at risk for that."

What is "herd immunity?"

Dr. Barkley: "It almost kind of creates a defensive barrier around you that prevents the illness around you whatever it might be measles mumps or chicken pox from actually getting to you and so the problem with that is if you decide to not vaccinate, your child is obviously quite a bit higher at risk versus the child who had the recommended 2 doses of vaccine from MMR."

Do adults need a measles booster shot?

"If you had it (the vaccine) back then, then you should have lifelong immunity to it. So you should be good. If you didn't get measles as a child, what you would want to do is track down your shot records to see if you have the vaccine. If you didn't have wild type measles when you were a child and you didn't have a shot for measles, then you would be susceptible to getting the measles."