Updated
September 19th, 2019

El Paso Says Goodbye to Measles Outbreak

Texas measles outbreak declared over after no new cases during 2 incubation periods

el paso at night

The El Paso, Texas Department of Public Health (DPH) declared an ‘end to the summer 2019 measles outbreak in western Texas.’

This measles outbreak affected 6 people, 3 toddlers, and 3 adults, reported the El Paso DPH on September 12, 2019.

These measles cases were the 1st in the El Paso region since 1993. 

Standard public health protocols declare a measles outbreak as over ‘when no new cases have been identified for 42 consecutive days because it can take 21 days for symptoms to show in someone who has been infected with the measles.’ 

The El Paso officials waited two incubation periods (42 days) out of an abundance of caution. 

During the 2019 outbreak, 88 suspect cases were investigated and tested and found to be negative for the measles virus. 

“This event has once again proven that despite the fact that we had gone 25 years without a (measles) case, our team of experts was ready to respond,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director, in a press release. 

“I extend a thank you to the parents in our community for being diligent in keeping their children’s vaccinations current.” 

Statewide, Texas health officials confirmed 21 measles cases as of July 29, 2019.

Nationwide, from January to September 12, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,241 individual cases of measles in 31 states.

More than 75 percent of these measles cases in 2019 are linked to outbreaks in New York.  

Anyone can become infected with measles, but the virus is more severe in infants, pregnant women and people whose immune systems are weak, says the CDC.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. People are considered infectious both before and after measles symptoms appear.

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People infected with the measles virus first develop a fever then may have a cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, followed by the appearance of a rash. And, certain individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they were born before 1957.

Overall, Texas public schools reported high-rates of coverage for each vaccine. 

Compared to the 2017-2018 school year, kindergarten students have slightly lower coverage as reports of conscientious exemptions increased slightly in 2018-2019, while delinquency and provisional enrollment decreased, reported the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on its website during May 2019.

Kindergarten conscientious exemption rates increased by at least 0.3 percentage points in every vaccine category while delinquency rates decreased by 0.11 to 0.20 percentage points. 

For 7th grade students, vaccination coverage improved in the 2018- 2019 school year for the Tdap, meningococcal and varicella vaccines. 

Seventh-grade conscientious exemption rates increased slightly, by 0.1 percentage points for most vaccines while delinquency rates decreased by 0.01 to 0.7 percentage points.

The CDC says measles can be prevented with 2-doses of the MMR-II vaccine. And, children have the option of getting the Proquad vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella.

These measles vaccines are available at most Texas pharmacies.

As a general notice, the CDC says ‘any vaccine can cause a side effect, which should be reported to a healthcare provider, or to the CDC.’

More information on the measles virus and the MMR Vaccine, as well as the Immunization Program in El Paso Texas, is available at El Paso Health.

Measles vaccine news is published by Precision Vaccination.