Six cases of the measles have been confirmed in Texas in recent days, health officials say. The Montgomery County Public Health District and Montgomery County Hospital District confirmed that one girl under the age of 2 was diagnosed with measles in January. "We're hopeful and any time we see that there are no new exposure locations that's helpful", said Marissa Armstrong, spokeswoman for the Clark County Public Health. A possible sixth case in Texas is awaiting lab confirmation.
The United States is now facing not one but three measles outbreaks, and once again the main culprit is people's refusal to get vaccinated. The CDC says measles are more likely to spread in areas with "pockets of unvaccinated people". According to the CDC, the current outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) are concentrated in Washington State, New York State, and New York City. Measles is highly contagious and early identification remains a critical public health measure to reduce the spread of the disease. The measles vaccine is reported to be very effective; 97 percent of those who receive both vaccinations are immune. Of note, 2017 was also a record year for vaccination coverage when 90% of coverage for the second dose of the measles vaccine was achieved for the first time ever, according to WHO.
These global travelers then spread measles upon their return, which cause outbreaks in the USA. The illness typically begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes and progresses to a rash with red spots.
Officials say vaccinations levels are falling in several Texas counties, and anything below a 95 percent vaccination rate is considered unsafe. The measles vaccination, MMR, protects against measles, mumps and rubella.