Q&A: Closer look at the measles vaccinations numbers across our area

HOUSTON – According to Texas Children’s Hospital, West Campus, a child who tested positive for measles is being treated at the Katy campus.

The Houston Health Department said the child is under 3 years old.

Q: When was the last case in this area?

A: The last case of measles in Houston was 2013.

Q: What is the measles?

A: It’s a highly contagious infection.  

Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, an immunization expert with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic broke down the following symptoms for KPRC:

  • Chest cough and cold symptoms
  • Red, runny eyes,
  • High fever up to 105
  • Red rash
  • Can develop into pneumonia and encephalitis
  • Can be deadly

Q: Is the measles vaccine harmful?

A: “The vaccine has been tested in very many ways to prove that it does not cause autism so don't let your fear keep you from doing the best thing for your child,” Mouzoon said.

The state data look at vaccination rates at the kindergarten and seventh-grade levels. Data also show the changes in percent of students in a county not vaccinated since 2011-2012 because of conscientious exemptions.

1.) Seventh-grade  2017-18 vaccination rates by school and/or district in our viewing area.

2.) Kindergarten 2017-18 vaccination rates by school and/or district in our viewing area.

3.) Conscientious exemptions from the 2011-12 school year through the 2017-18 school year. These show a small upward trend in all counties for the percentage of students not vaccinated.

The data do not include the raw numbers of students not vaccinated.

Q: How are Americans contracting the disease?

A: According to Mouzoon our cases are mostly from people who have not been immunized, then they travel and contract the infection from other parts of the world. 

“Most of the European region has measles. Asia has measles. Africa still has measles,” Mouzoon said. “Travelers who are not immunized are the ones to bring it back.”

Q: What’s the normal course of vaccines for the measles?

A: The vaccine is called MMR which stands for the diseases it covers – measles, Mumps and rubella

Here is what the CDC says about measles:

“CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.”

If you’re traveling abroad with a child younger than 12 months old, Dr. Mouzoon says talk to your doctor. It is possible to get the vaccine as young as 6 months old.

Q: How contagious is measles?

A: Very contagious.

“There been reports of people catching measles from an airport waiting room two hours after the person with measles left,” Mouzoon said.

Q: Are measles cases on the rise?

A: This is straight from the CDC.

“There is no current multistate measles outbreak in the United States. The number of reported cases in the United States in 2018 is similar to recent years and in the expected range. Every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad, they bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others. Make sure you and your family are protected with MMR vaccine.”