3 confirmed measles cases in Harris County, health officials say

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DCPH is now in the process of identifying and contacting people who may have been exposed to the virus and this case has not been linked to any other measles cases.

In Harris County, two boys and a woman are being treated for measles. All three patients live in northwest Harris County.

There are now six confirmed reports of measles cases in the state of Texas.

Bell and Montgomery County both have a measles case involving children.

All three cases are children who were not vaccinated or did not complete their vaccine series. The Houston outbreak comes as new circumstances of measles are being confirmed in Washington state every day, and different instances have been established in Oregon, Georgia, and NY.

Experts attribute the spread of measles in part to lower vaccination rates in certain communities, making more people vulnerable to the disease and lowering the level of herd immunity that protects large groups from becoming infected. According to the CDC, the current outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) are concentrated in Washington State, New York State, and New York City.

DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend children get a dose of the measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years. Residents born prior to 1957 are considered immune to measles but those born in 1957 or after should verify vaccination history.

Research has confirmed that vaccines don't cause autism, a common reason cited by parents who reject vaccinations.

A hallmark of measles is a rash that begins as flat, red spots on the face and spreads down the neck to the rest of the body.

The people involved in these new cases stayed home while contagious, so there are no new public exposure sites where people might have come in contact with the disease.

In 2018, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 diagnosed cases of measles in the U.S.

"Our vaccination rates are not so low that I think we are going to be like Italy or Romania that had thousands of cases previous year but we could have a few hundred cases", Ludke said.

The health department said there are two other potential cases of measles that are pending as they wait for test results.

Measles is prevented through the combination measles, mumps, and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

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