Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is reporting its first confirmed case of measles in a Dallas resident since 2017. The individual had been exposed to another confirmed measles case from Tarrant County at their mutual workplace in Dallas County in March. Dallas County’s measles case had stayed at home during their period of potential contagiousness and therefore did not result in any additional public or workplace exposures.
“This is a great example of a public health success story. We had great coordination with the Tarrant County Health Department and the employer. The patient voluntarily quarantined themself and therefore, there was no public exposure to this highly contagious virus. The DCHHS epidemiology staff are to be commended for their efforts”, said DCHHS Director/Health Authority Dr. Philip Huang.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when a person with measles coughs or sneezes. Measles usually begins with a fever (as high as 105°F), cough, runny nose, and red eyes. These symptoms are followed by a rash that spreads from the head down to the hands and feet. The incubation period for this febrile rash illness is between 7 and 21 days. Patients are contagious from 4 days before rash to 4 days after onset of rash.
“Measles is a highly contagious illness that can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine”, said DCHHS Medical Director Dr. Christopher Perkins.
Two doses of MMR vaccine are 97% effective against measles and are recommended for all children, with the first routine dose at 12-15 months, and the second dose at 4-6 years. Adults born after 1956 should receive at least 1 dose of MMR vaccine unless they have other evidence of immunity. Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended for international travelers, college students, and healthcare personnel. Adults without documentation of prior measles vaccination or immunity to measles can have measles IgG titers drawn, or they can be vaccinated without obtaining serology. There is no harm from administering additional doses of MMR vaccine.
If you are uncertain of your measles vaccination status or have questions, please contact your healthcare provider.