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Measles cases hit 25 year high, none reported in Coastal Bend

Posted at 8:56 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 21:56:51-04

The ongoing measles outbreak isn’t showing any signs of letting up anytime soon.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that as of Friday, there have been 704 cases in 22 states, the majority are in kids who have not been vaccinated.

This is the highest number of cases in 25 years, and the number is expected to rise.

Of the 15 confirmed measles cases in Texas, one is in Bexar County, about a two hour drive from Corpus Christi.  Fortunately, no measles cases have been reported in the Coastal Bend, but as a tourism destination, the potential is there.

“The cases of measles that are coming in are coming in from outside of the United States,” said Dr. Kim Onufrak, Community Physician with the Corpus Christi Nueces County Health Department.  “They’re international travelers that are coming in and then spreading it to those that are unvaccinated.”

Most countries don’t vaccinate for measles as widely as in the United States, so Americans traveling abroad are more likely to contract measles.  The un-vaccinated are most at risk, as are infants and the elderly.  But even with the vaccine, nobody is 100 percent safe.

“Maybe 2-3 people out of 100 might get measles if they have been vaccinated,” said Onufrak.

Locally, Health Department doctors aren’t pushing the panic button.  That’s because the CDC hasn’t declared an outbreak in Texas.  Nueces County’s last confirmed measles case was in the early nineties, but local doctors are troubled by the growing trend nationwide.

“It is very disturbing, especially since it’s a preventable illness if you’re vaccinated,” said Onufrak.

Doctors recommend at least two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine for everyone.  The first dose should be administered between 12 and 15 months old; the second between 4 and 6 years old.  However, if you missed your vaccines as a child, you can get them any time.

“As an adult you can get always get it; if you’re unsure if you received it and you don’t know, it’s still safe to get as an adult,” said Onufrak.

The Health Department offers the MMR vaccine to anyone, regardless of age.  Vaccines are available by appointment daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  To make an appointment or for ore information, call the Health Department at (361) 826-7200.