Tarrant County officials confirmed Thursday their first case of measles in 2019.
Tarrant Public Health County refused to give information to identify the patient, simply stating that the case was unrelated to any other case in North Texas. Officials later said that the person had recently left the country for an outbreak of measles.
Two cases of measles have been diagnosed in the past two weeks in Collin County. Denton County had a case of measles diagnosed earlier this year. The Tarrant County case is the fourth in 2019 in North Texas and the fourteenth in all of the state.
Symptoms of measles include rash, fever of 101 ° F or higher, cough, runny nose, or redness of the eyes. People are contagious four days before the appearance of a rash four days after the appearance of a rash. Measles is highly contagious and spreads in the air by respiratory droplets.
The chief county epidemiologist wants people to know that this is not a community-wide epidemic. He says the encouraging news is that most residents of Tarrant County are vaccinated, which helps limit exposure.
Chief epidemiologist Russell Jones said the person started showing symptoms of the highly contagious virus last week. Tests confirmed that it was measles.
"We think the person was exposed during an international trip, especially in a country where measles cases have increased – explained the epidemiologist.
According to Jones, when traveling outside the United States, vaccinated persons are advised to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella.
According to Jones, about 90% of residents in Tarrant County are vaccinated. This is slightly below the national average.
"Depending on the age group you are looking for. some are higher. Some are lower, "Jones said.
On Monday, Collin County Health officials confirmed their second case of measles. In this case, the infected person had spent a short time in a Kroger near Preston Road in Prosper, while it was contagious last Friday.
In Tarrant County, Jones says the potential exposure of the public seems to be very limited.
"At this point, it's a case," Jones said. "This is not an epidemic on the scale of the community."
"I think everyone should be vaccinated, especially children because they go to school," said Felipa Moreno, a resident of Fort Worth. "And if they are not vaccinated if they receive it, they spread it and everything goes away from there, and the situation gets worse."
Jones says the health department monitors people who are known to have been in contact with the infected person and make sure they are in good health.