Measles Identified in Greater Houston. Take Steps to Protect Yourself
GREATER HOUSTON (February04,
The number of measles cases nationwide has risen to more than 100, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced. Local health authorities recently identified several cases of measles within
the Greater Houston area. Although this highly contagious infectious disease is
making a resurgence in the United States, measles can be prevented with a safe
and effective vaccine. It is recommended that all children receive two (2) doses
of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, with the first dose given at 12 to
15 months, and the second dose given between the ages of 4 and 6.
How is measles
Measles is a virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus
of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
The measles virus can live for up to two (2) hours in the air or on surfaces
where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the
contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses,
or mouths, they can become infected.
What are the signs
and symptoms of measles?
Measles is characterized by a fever (as high as 105 degrees
Fahrenheit), cough, runny nose, pink eyes and a rash that starts on the head
and spreads all over the body. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) says that patients are considered contagious from four days
before to four days after the rash appears. Pregnant women, children under the
age of 1, and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of
complications from measles.
CDC: Signs and
Symptoms of Measles
How can I protect
myself and my loved ones?
The MMR vaccine offers the best protection. Two doses of MMR
vaccine are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles; one dose is about
93 percent effective.
What should I do if
I’m concerned that I have been exposed to measles?
Call your doctor immediately. A medical provider can help
determine if you are immune and make arrangements for evaluation and treatment.
If you do not have a physician, and are unsure of where to go, call Memorial
Hermann’s 24/7 Nurse Health Line at 713-338-7979 or 1-855-577-7979. This free triage line is answered by
specially trained registered nurses who can answer your health questions and
direct you to area care facilities.