HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — In just the last 48 hours health officials say five cases of measles have been confirmed in southern Texas, including four children under the age of 2.
The cases, which were announced Monday, include three in the Houston area, one in Galveston County and one in Montgomery County. A possible sixth case in Texas is awaiting lab confirmation. The announcements come as a measles outbreak hits the Pacific Northwest, where more than 50 cases have been confirmed.
Measles was considered eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, as a result of immunization, but over the last few years more and more cases have been reported in Texas and other states. Last year there were 372 cases and this year, as of January 31, the Center for Disease Control has confirmed 79 cases.
In 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) blamed the anti-vaccination movement for a surge in European measles cases. In a report released this time last year WHO officials wrote, “Every new person affected by measles in Europe reminds us that unvaccinated children and adults, regardless of where they live, remain at risk of catching the disease and spreading it to others.”
Texas officials urge vaccinations for the contagious virus. The Houston Chronicle reports health officials were told the four children who fell ill had received their first of two measles vaccines. The second is given between the ages of 4 and 6.
Measles is a viral infection that causes a rash over the entire body. While most cases last about two weeks, some patients can develop dangerous infections in the lungs or even brain swelling from the virus.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)