Measles outbreak in Texas, Lubbock health officials discuss threat

Measles outbreak in Texas, Lubbock health officials discuss threat

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock Health Department said there are currently eight reported cases of measles in Texas.

Katherine Wells, the Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock, said measles is a highly contagious disease that it transmitted from person to person through the air.

She said if someone with an active case of measles goes in and out of an elevator, people who go on the elevator within the next two hours can be exposed to the disease.

“It’s actually a disease we had fully eradicated from the United States about 10 years ago,” Wells said, “and we’re starting to see more and more resurgent of measles in different communities throughout the United States.”

Cases have been reported in five counties across Texas including Bell, Denton, Harris, Galveston and Montgomery counties.

There are not currently any reported cases in Lubbock County, but the Department of Health said they are taking necessary precautions.

“We’ve been working with our staff to make sure everybody knows that the state’s declared an outbreak in Texas,” Wells said. “If a doctor calls, we’re able to provide information on what testing needs to be done, isolation, and other information that’s needed to diagnose a case.”

Wells said vaccination is the best way to prevent measles.

“The problem is we have an unvaccinated people around the community,” Wells said.

She said the unvaccinated people may come in contact with someone with a medical exemption, or an infant who is too young to receive the vaccination.

“That’s really who we want to protect,” Wells said.

For those who are unvaccinated, there are signs to look out for. Wells said symptoms include a fever of greater than 101, a dotty rash on the face and chest, or a cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis.

Wells said Lubbock has a high vaccination rate, but those who haven’t been vaccinated can contract the diseases by traveling to a place with low vaccination rates.

“Now, with people moving around, we have a very mobile society,” Wells said. “There could be an active measles case on an airplane and individuals are exposed here in Lubbock.”

Vaccinations are available at the City of Lubbock Department of Health for $15.

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