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Tarrant County Measles Cases Linked To Church Visitor’s Missionary Trip

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TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - Another person in Tarrant County has been diagnosed with the measles, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 11, according to the county’s health department.  The youngest person infected is four months old; the oldest is 44.  Earlier on Tuesday, health officials identified five other potential measles cases.  All of the cases are linked to a North Texas church.

The outbreak has been traced back to an adult church visitor, who traveled on a multi-nation mission trip that included stops in Japan, China, France and Germany.

Eagle Mountain Church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, headquartered in Northwest Tarrant County.  The church also has offices in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The church was notified of the first confirmed case last Wednesday, from a health clinic located on the church’s campus.  The church shut down its nursery after learning it had likely been exposed to the virus.  During that evening’s church service, which was posted online, Pastor Terri Pearsons told the congregation about the measles case and that a professional company was coming in to clean the entire church campus.  She encouraged members to take advantage of the immunization clinics being held specifically at the church.  But she also addressed those who are against vaccinations and told them 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,” said Parsons.  She later went on to say, “If you didn’t have it, you should be immunized…if you want to…”

In all, 189 church members were vaccinated for measles during clinics held at the church.  Nineteen immunoglobulin shots were given to infants or those too young to receive the full vaccine.

Health officials said three of the 11 people diagnosed with measles have already recovered; eight of them had not been vaccinated for the disease.  Some of them are church members and some of them are not.  Health officials are pleading with residents to come forward if they are showing symptoms of the contagious disease.  Although all the reported cases are related, health officials fear sporadic cases could pop up.

“There’s a possibility that someone else could have caught it through other interaction. It’s not just located in this one area. If there’s someone else who has come out, maybe they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Tarrant County chief epidemiologist Russell Jones.

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