NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas community is on alert as the measles outbreak grows. The total number of verified cases is now up to 11 in Tarrant County. And as CBS 11 News reported first Monday night, all the cases can be tied to one man, at one church in the small city of Newark.
While the measles cases may be centered at the Eagle Mountain International Church, that hasn’t lessened the concern in the small surrounding community.
Along with health officials, the folks who live work and worship in Newark are worried. Although health workers feel they’ve done a good job of tracking down those who have been in close contact with the infected patients, they made it clear they cannot rule out the possibility of a case popping up in the general population.
The measles outbreak in Tarrant County now centers on the one city. Ben McCrary lives in Newark. The small, rural town has a population just over 1,000 people. “It’s pretty scary especially since I hadn’t heard anything about before and now boom its here!” he said.
Health officials say all of the cases are linked to a man who traveled out of the country on a church-related trip. He went to Japan, China, France and Germany while doing mission work for Eagle Mountain International – a part Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Esther Rodriguez lives in the neighboring town of Haslett. “We don’t want anything to be spread out around the community,” she worried aloud. “We really care for that and want to care of that pretty soon.”
The health department offered vaccinations at the church last week and nearly 200 people took advantage of the offer.
Last Wednesday, during this service, Pastor Terri Pearsons encouraged members to get immunized. But she also addressed those who are against vaccinations.
In a letter, Pearsons even raised her own concerns about vaccinations being linked to autism in young children; this although studies from the Centers fro Disease Control and the Institute on Medicine have concluded there is no link.
Pearsons told members to pray about it and stand on their faith if they chose not to get the shots. “If you’re somebody and you know that you know, that you know, that you’ve got this covered in your household by faith and it crosses your heart of faith then don’t go do it.”
Eight of the 11 infected patients were not vaccinated for measles. The ages of patients range from as young as four-months-old to 44 years old. Health officials are asking anyone who thinks they are sick to come forward.
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