The latest Texas measles outbreak is linked to an anti-vaccine megachurch, according to an Aug. 26 NBC News report. At least 21 people in Texas are sick with the measles, and more are expected to contract the preventable disease. The youngest who has become ill is a 4-month-old infant.
At least nine people in Tarrant County, Texas are sick with the measles, while in nearby Denton County at least five people are sick. Officials believe that before the entire Texas measles outbreak is over even more people will contract the incredibly contagious disease.
Ministers at the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas have questioned the use of the measles vaccine, and many people who attend the church have not gotten the recommended vaccinations. The church members were exposed to the measles when a visitor from Indonesia came down the disease.
Russell Jones, the Texas state epidemiologist said,
"We have a pocket of people that weren't immunized."
The good news is that the majority of people in the region have been immunized, so even though there is a Texas measles outbreak, hopefully it will soon be under control. The good news is that Terri Pearsons, a senior pastor of Eagle Mountain International Church has advised people to get the measles vaccine since the outbreak began, so hopefully some who were not vaccinated were able to get the vaccine, and then stay away from the people who are ill.
This year in the U.S., there have been 159 cases of confirmed measles. Prior to the 1963 introduction of the vaccine, at least 500 people a year died from the measles while another 48,000 were hospitalized. People living now feel incredibly safe from the measles because so many have been vaccinated. However, this disease is still deadly, and if people continue to refuse the vaccine, it could come back and harm those who are least able to care for themselves -- children, the elderly, and the ill.
At least 90 percent of people who not immune to or have not been vaccinated against the measles will contract the disease when they are exposed to it. Because it takes between eight and 14 days to develop the characteristic measles rash, it is often hard to tell who is infected until it is already way too late. It is highly contagious, which is why vaccination is one of the best ways to keep yourself and your family safe from something like the Texas measles outbreak.