A case of measles has been confirmed in Bell County.
The confirmed case is that of a child in West Bell County who is too young to have been vaccinated.
Bell County Public Health District was investigating four possible cases of the disease, but the other three were ruled out.
The child with the measles had limited contact with the public and all other family members were up to date on vaccinations, according to the Health District.
Seven measles cases have been confirmed in Texas this year. The others include one in Denton County and the rest in the Houston area, according to the Department of State Health Services. Texas had nine confirmed cases in 2018 and one in 2017.
Measles is a highly contagious disease and vaccinations are the best bet to avoiding it, said Dr. Manjusha Gaglani, pediatric infectious disease physician at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center.
Measles is so contagious that if someone has it, 90 percent of the people around that person who are not immune will become infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC recommends children get a dose of measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years. The measles vaccine is very effective, working about 97 percent of the time after two doses. Children too young to be vaccinated or who have only had one dose of vaccine are more likely to get infected.
According to state immunizations regulations, students must be fully compliant with state immunization requirements in order to attend/enroll in classes. Documentation of proof of immunization compliance is required prior to the start of the school year or at the time of enrollment.
Exemptions from immunization requirements set by the Texas Department of State Health Services are allowable on an individual basis for medical contraindications, religious conflicts and reasons of conscience. Requests must be made through the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Belton school district has an enrollment of 11,848 and about 154 of the students enrolled in Belton schools are not immunized with the measles vaccine, the district said.
Temple school district has 8,654 records of immunizations and 69 have affidavit requests of exception, according to the school district.
The symptoms are a high fever, runny nose, cough and pink eyes, Gaglani said. After two or three days of the symptoms a rash, that looks like a heat rash will appear. It will first show up around the ears and along the hairline. It will then spread down the body. The rash will merge into red patches across the body.
“If your skin is dark, it’s harder to see,” Gaglani said.
If there is someone in the family who is immunocompromised or pregnant and haven’t received the vaccine, they should avoid contact with anyone with the measles.
It takes two weeks to develop full immunity to the disease after being inoculated.
Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States according to the CDC. About 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC and of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis, brain swelling, from measles.