Harris County Public Health confirms three measles cases in Harris County. The patients, whose identities will remain confidential, are two boys (under the age of 2) and a 25 – 35 year-old woman. All three patients reside in northwest Harris County.
“Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus, which spreads to others through coughing and sneezing,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director for HCPH. “However, it is easily preventable. Parents and caregivers have the power to protect their children and themselves from this disease by getting vaccinated.”
The last confirmed report of a measles case in Harris County was by the City of Houston in 2018. This year, there are currently six confirmed reports of measles cases in the state of Texas.
Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles is an airborne virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of measles are a high fever, runny nose, cough, red-watery eyes and sore throat that is followed by a rash breakout 3-5 days after symptoms begin.
Measles is highly contagious, and if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around that person will also become infected if they’re not yet vaccinated. About 1 out of 4 people who get measles will be hospitalized. Measles is prevented through the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get two doses in order to be fully protected:
• The first dose at 12 through 15 months of age
• The second dose at 4 through 6 years of age
The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization. HCPH encourages individuals to contact their health care provider if they show signs and symptoms of measles. For a list of recommended vaccines, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or speak to your health care provider.