4th Measles Case Confirmed At Texas’ Southern Border

El Paso Texas reports measles outbreak

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The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed a 4th case of the measles in El Paso in less than 2 weeks.

According to a DPH statement on July 17, 2019, it had been more than 25 years since the greater El Paso area saw its last case of measles. 

“We need our community to focus on making sure that they are up-to-date with their measles or MMR vaccine,” said Robert Resendes, City of El Paso Public Health Director.

El Paso DPH officials advised people who were at the following locations between June 27th through July 1st should contact their physician if they see any measles symptoms. 

The locations of concern in El Paso are:

  • June 27: Neighborhood Walmart, 10301 Alameda. From 1 - 5 p.m.
  • June 28: Subway at Ft. Bliss, 1333 Cassidy. From 5 - 7 p.m. 
  • June 29: Bassett Place Mall-Target, Kohl’s, Jewelry Box. From 6 - 9 p.m.
  • June 30: Fort Bliss PX, Exchange, Food Court. From noon - 4:30 p.m.
  • July 1: Walmart, at Americas, 9441 Alameda. From 4 - 6 a.m.

These new measles cases increase the state of Texas’s 2019 total to 19 cases. Texas confirmed just 9 measles cases in 2018 and one in 2017, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 1,123 measles individual cases in 28 states during 2019. The vast majority of these measles cases have been reported in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties New York. 

In Europe, the country of Ukraine reported 55,776 measles cases and 18 related fatalities on July 4, 2019. 

Health officials say the measles virus is very contagious. In fact, the measles virus can live in an airspace where an infected person was, for up to 2 hours. 

The hallmark symptom of measles is a rash that begins as flat, red spots on the face and spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, says DSHS. 

The measles disease can be severe and lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, brain inflammation, known as encephalitis. 

If you are planning a trip outside of the USA this summer, it is now easy to check whether you need another measles vaccine. 

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The CDC published an updated digital app on July 1, 2019, that enables international travelers to quickly and privately self-qualify whether or not they need a measles vaccination before departure.

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You should plan to be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before you depart. If your trip is less than 2 weeks away and you’re not protected against measles, you should still get a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

To schedule a pre-trip vaccine and medication counseling session with a local pharmacy, please visit Vax-Before-Travel.

Measles vaccines

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the measles virus is by getting vaccinated, says the CDC and Texas DSHS. Measles can be prevented with MMR-II vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella.

Children may also get Proquad, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.

Texas DSHS and the CDC both recommend children get a dose of measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years. The measles vaccine is very effective, about 97 percent effective after 2-doses. Children too young to be vaccinated or who have only had 1-dose of vaccine are more likely to get infected. 

As of July 1, 2019, the CDC updated its private sector vaccine prices for general information. And, the CDC’s Vaccines For Children program offers vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. 

Additional financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.   

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report vaccine side effects to your healthcare provider or the CDC.