North Texas Doctors Fear Measles Outbreak

By Robbie Owens & Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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A nurse prepares a dose of the measles vaccine. (credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A nurse prepares a dose of the measles vaccine. (credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Robbie Owens Robbie Owens
Robbie grew up in northeast Texas, in a tiny town where her fami...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Tarrant County Health Department is investigating the first two confirmed cases of the measles in 17 years.

The first case involves a woman in her 30s who may have contracted the illness during a trip to Orlando last month. The second confirmed case is a man who lives with that woman. Though all the children in the home were vaccinated against the measles, area health officials said they are on high alert.

Measles are highly contagious, but the disease can be prevented with a vaccine, typically administered as two doses during the childhood years. Adults who may not have been immunized as children should talk to a doctor.

The vaccine has been so successful in combating the measles that it has been nearly two decades since health officials in Tarrant County have had to deal with a case. Now, they have two cases at the same time, and the public has been asked to be on the lookout for the symptoms.

People with the measles typically have a fever, runny nose and cough – which could be confused with any ordinary cold – but will also have a reddish rash all over the body. That reddish rash is the key to identifying a measles case. “The symptoms can last anywhere from 10 to 14 days in a healthy adult,” wanred Dr. Anita Kurian.

Measles are transmitted through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. The disease is so contagious that anyone who is exposed to it – and is not immune – will most likely contract the illness.

An 11-month-old boy in Houston also caught the measles last month, also believed to be contracted during a family vacation in Orlando. The Orange County Health Department in Florida is now alerting tourists and area venues where children often visit. Minnesota and Michigan have also recorded recent cases of the measles.

“The measles is highly contagious, but the good news is it’s a vaccine-preventative disease.” Said Dr. Anita Kurian, of the Tarrant County Health Department. “It’s a good time to review your immunization records, call your doctor if you haven’t received your measles vaccination, this is the right time to get the vaccine.”

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