Update March 6: Ten cases of measles have been reported in Texas this year, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a statement Wednesday.
The 10th case is an adult who was visiting Guadalupe County from the Philippines, where there is an ongoing measles outbreak, the statement said.
Original Story: Health officials are investigating at least eight known measles cases in Texas, and they are reminding physicians to report suspected and confirmed cases.
Six cases, involving children between 12 and 21 months old, have been reported in three Houston-area counties, the Department of State Health Services said. Another case has been confirmed in Bell County, DSHS said, and a seventh was reported in Denton County, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Officials did not say whether the people involved in the cases in the Houston area had been fully vaccinated against measles. The Bell County case involves a child who is too young to have been vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine in order to be protected against measles — one at age 12 to 15 months and another between 4 and 6 years old.
Health officials say it’s too early to call these clusters or to declare an outbreak, and they don’t know if the cases are associated with breakouts in other states.
“Please consider measles as a part of your differential diagnosis if you see patients with … clinical signs and symptoms,” DSHS said in the alert. “In Texas, suspicion of measles is required to be reported immediately. Do not wait for laboratory confirmation to report measles. Measles reports should be made to the local health department or 800-705-8868.”
This is the first measles exposure reported in Texas this year.
Several cases were reported last year, including an outbreak of six cases, all in unvaccinated people, in Ellis County.
Physicians and health care facilities should 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.
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.
TMA’s website also contains useful information to help you talk to your patients about being the measles vaccine, including a video and informational poster you can print out and hang in exam rooms.