The Measles Is Here--How Should we Handle It?

While measles can be deadly, it's seen as something that happens elsewhere, so the first confirmed case in San Antonio is stoking the concerns of parents, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

A patient was diagnosed last week at University Hospital. Because it was an outpatient visit, the person was able to leave the hospital. The Health Department is confirmed that the patient is a traveler from the Philippines, where vaccinations are far less common, and is staying in Guadalupe County.

The hospital's infectious diseases expert Dr. Jason Bowling says, if you and your kids have been vaccinated, there is no immediate concern.

"It's important for people to be aware that measles is highly contagious, but they should also be aware that the vaccine is fairly protective."

For those who have not been vaccinated, he says it's important to get the shots now, so the measles virus will not spread. The virus is so contagious that if a room of 100 unvaccinated people were exposed, 90 of them would catch the disease.

"It usually starts with a fever followed by a cough, runny nose and watery eyes. And that's followed by the rash," he says.

Dr. Cherese Rohr-Allegrini, who is the San Antonio Program Director for The Immunization Partnership says it’s important to figure out where this patient may have been exposed.

“The good news is that San Antonio is not one of the four anti-vaccine hotspots in Texas. About 96% of school aged kids are vaccinated for MMR in Bexar County. However, only 60% of 13 month olds have received that first dose and of course no infants under 1 year of age have received it, because they are too young.”

She says that medically fragile individuals who cannot receive the vaccine are also at risk.

“We also know that anti-vaxxers tend to cluster, so most of those who have chosen not to vaccinate attend the same schools, churches or community groups.”

About 1 in 3 measles cases result in one or more complications such as an ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures, or even death.

The information about the measles patient has been turned over to Metro Health.

IMAGE: GETTY

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