Texas measles case reignites vaccination debate – KWTX
WACO (January 20, 2016) The debate over childhood vaccinations rekindled after an unvaccinated student at a Texas elementary school was diagnosed with measles, and local physicians say it takes just one sick child to put others at risk.
The Plano ISD student, who had traveled internationally, was in class on Jan. 5 and then showed signs of measles the next day.
The child has since recovered, but it will take about three weeks from the point of contact to determine whether the virus has spread.
Doctors at Hillcrest Pediatric Clinic in Waco say they’ve been getting calls from parents about the measles and vaccinations.
A check of vaccination data shows that most students in local schools have been vaccinated.
Public school districts in Texas require up-to-date vaccination records for students to enroll, but there are exemptions for religious and medical reasons.
Measles is highly contagious, but vaccination has made it comparatively rare in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 189 cases of measles were diagnosed in 24 states and the District of Columbia from Jan. 1, 2015 to Jan. 2, 2016.
“Ninety percent of the people that are exposed to this virus that has not been vaccinated are going to contract that virus,” Waco pediatrician Dr. Celeste Hecox said.
Measles vaccinations start at 12 months.
There is a booster shot at age 4.
Hecox says some parents still fear the vaccine because of a discredited study.
But the CDC says recent research shows otherwise.
“We have all vaccinated all of our children as well. We believe that strongly in it,” Hecox said.
Measles is transmitted through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.
The symptoms don’t show until 10 to 14 days after exposure which means the virus can spread before measles is diagnosed.
Coughing, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever, and a red, blotchy skin rash are associated with the virus.
Medical professionals say unvaccinated children, women who are pregnant, and immune deficient people are more at risk of contracting the virus.