Texas health officials have issued a measles alert and are urging people to be immunized. Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) has reported a total of 10 cases of measles. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune or vaccinated will also become infected with the measles virus.
Kids with measles should be closely watched. In some cases, measles can lead to other complications, such as otitis media, croup, diarrhea, pneumonia, and encephalitis (a serious brain infection), which may require antibiotics or hospitalization.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor immediately if you suspect that your child has measles. Also, it’s important to get medical care following measles exposure, especially if your child:
- is an infant
- is taking medicines that suppress the immune system
- has tuberculosis, cancer, or a disease that affects the immune system
Remember that measles, a once common childhood disease, is preventable through routine childhood immunization. Vaccination even shortly before or after exposure may prevent the disease or lessen the symptoms in people who are infected with measles.
- State health officials urge immunization to protect against and prevent the spread of measles. People should check their immunization status with their health care provider.
- People are contagious from four days before the rash appears to four days after.
- The rash usually begins on the face and spreads to the trunk. Other symptoms include fever (higher than 101 degrees), cough, runny nose and sore eyes.