Measles outbreak spreads to Texas

Measles Vaccines

Measles Vaccines

Among the confirmed cases, 43 were not immunized against the highly contagious disease.

Denton County Public Health officials said Wednesday there's one confirmed case of measles in the county.

Demand for measles vaccines leapt 500 percent last month in Clark County, Washington-a hotbed for anti-vaccine sentiment that has now become the epicenter of a ferocious measles outbreak.

The health department said they are taking all precautionary measures to prevent the disease from spreading. "I would rather it not take an outbreak for this to happen", Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer overseeing the response, told KHN.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas is one of a handful of states with confirmed cases of measles already reported in 2019.

The health department is encouraging anyone who may have symptoms of measles to contact your doctor.

"These outbreaks are associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring", the CDC says.

In Clark County, the confirmed cases include two infected residents who moved to Georgia, as well as two children who had traveled to Hawaii, where they were quarantined and did not spread measles to others. Health officials have long anxious about the potential for an outbreak in the region.

The cases involve four children under 2 years old and a woman. Orders for measles vaccine climbed 30 percent in Washington overall, from 12,140 doses in January last year to 15,780 doses in January of this year.

"The measles vaccine isn't ideal, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County's health officer, said in a statement.

"Before the measles vaccine, we had an increase in measles, and then, when the measles vaccine was created, it started getting more and more people vaccinated", Beckham said.

Officials say vaccinations levels are falling in several Texas counties, and anything below a 95 percent vaccination rate is considered risky.

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