Health concern for those not vaccinated against measles

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 6 at 6:18 PM

The investigation is expanding in the two cases of measles in Tarrant County. Cases linked to Orlando have been confirmed in Tarrant County, Houston, Minnesota, and Michigan.

Health authorities confirm the two infected adults do have children. Unlike the adults, the kids are fully vaccinated against measles, so they are showing no sign of sickness.

Those not vaccinated in the general public, who may have been unknowingly been exposed, now pose the biggest concern.

Tarrant County health officials have already notified those with close contact to the two infected adults.

Infectious disease experts warn the disease could have already spread. Measles is contagious through casual contact four days before the red rash and other symptoms appear.

"This is spread airborne by coughing or sneezing, and it's in droplets so it will remain in the air for a period of time and that's why it's considered highly contagious, if you've never been vaccinated," said Dr. Bryan Youree, Texas health infectious disease.

Dr. Youree said vaccinations should last a lifetime.

Those most at risk include:

  • children under six years old who have not been fully vaccinated
  • school-age children whose parents have declined to get them vaccinated
  • adults born before 1957
  • pregnant women
  • individuals with immunodeficiency disorders

Several other states, including Washington and Massachusetts, are reporting small clusters of measles cases within recent weeks.

There are concerns about a more widespread measles outbreak in the U.S.

E-mail  jstjames@wfaa.com

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