Monday, August 19, 2013

Measles Making a Comeback in Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) confirmed six cases of measles in Tarrant County this month, bringing the total number of Texas cases this year to 11. This is the highest number of measles cases in Texas in three years ― there were zero cases last year and six in 2011. Texas physicians and DSHS stress the need for immunization against this highly contagious yet preventable disease. Check with your family physician if you are unsure whether you are properly vaccinated.

“Measles is the most contagious disease known to man,” warns the World Health Organization. It is so contagious, reports DSHS, that “if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune or vaccinated will also become infected with the measles virus.” And it can be deadly. Measles kills one out of every 1,000 children it infects. Fortunately, a vaccine exists that is both safe and effective — so effective that after its introduction in the 1960s, the number of measles outbreaks in Texas fell by 99.9 percent, from 85,862 cases in 1958 to the numbers reported today.

However, international travel to countries without widespread immunization practices, coupled with a misplaced fear of the measles vaccine due to a now-discredited study, has led to an increase in outbreaks in Texas and the United States.

There are 11 cases in Texas so far this year. There should be zero.

Measles Cases Reemerging at Home and Abroad
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