Physicians should be on the lookout for measles symptoms after a person with a confirmed case of the virus visited the Dallas area earlier this month, health officials said.
The Dallas County Health and Human Services issued a health advisory Wednesday of the possible exposure. According to the advisory, the person, who is not a resident of Dallas County, spent time at a hotel near DFW airport and at five restaurants from Aug. 14 to 17.
Officials are contacting people who might have been exposed to the virus, though they said no secondary cases have been identified.
“Healthcare providers are therefore reminded to consider measles in the initial differential diagnosis of patients with acute rash illness with fever, particularly those who have come into contact with known measles cases, traveled abroad or to areas with known outbreaks, or have known non-immune status to measles,” the advisory said.
This is the second measles exposure reported in Texas this year.
An outbreak of six cases, all in unvaccinated people, was confirmed in Ellis County in January. No other cases have been reported, health officials said.
Measles is highly contagious and is transmitted through the air usually by coughing, sneezing, or talking.
After measles exposure, rashes usually take about two weeks to develop, and people are contagious from four days before a rash appears until four days after.
“The rash usually begins on the face as flat, red spots and then spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body,” health department officials said. “Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.”
Physicians and health care facilities in the area should also use proper infection control, testing, and treatment for measles, including:
- Triaging suspected cases in a separate room with a closed door;
- Providing surgical masks for suspected cases; and
- Keeping staff measles immunity records on file.
More information can be found on the DSHS website.
There are also plenty of resources to help prevent measles and other infectious disease outbreaks, and educate patients on immunizations at TMA’s Be Wise – ImmunizeSM webpage.