Measles Exposure at Texas Church

Measles outbreak investigation shows exposure at large North Texas church

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Measles is no longer a common problem in the US, but it still causes plenty of infections around the world. Americans who are travelling abroad can become infected and bring the disease back to the US, which seems to be the case in a measles outbreak in Texas.

A recent outbreak of measles in the state of Texas has been linked to a patient who had been exposed while traveling overseas.

Investigators have discovered that the patient in question recently attended a large North Texas church, prompting warnings to the congregation and staff.

"Check with your doctor about your vaccination status."

According to a statement from Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC), a person who had been exposed to measles overseas recently attended a service at this large church, causing the organization to warn its congregation and staff about potential exposure to the virus.

EMIC, which is located in Tarrant County in North Texas, reported that it has one confirmed case of the measles connected to the church, and other cases pending. 

The Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPH) has reported 11 measles cases in the county, bumping the current statewide count to 16 cases. North Texas has experienced the bulk of infections. 

According to TCPH, ages of patients involved in the measles outbreak in Tarrant County have ranged from 4 months to 44 years. Eight of the 11 patients did not have any immunization to measles, either through vaccine or previous exposure.

TCPH also reported that eight of the patients have recovered and the still-infectious patients have been asked to stay home until they are no longer likely to spread the disease. 

"As previously reported, all of the cases have been linked to a previously identified case, who had traveled outside the United States to a country where measles is common," said TCPH. 

"Unless one has had measles previously, or has been vaccinated, it’s best to get the vaccine," urged TCPH. "While the vaccine generally takes about two weeks to become fully effective, vaccination even shortly before or after exposure may prevent the disease or lessen the symptoms in those infected."

EMIC held a free vaccination clinic on August 18 in coordination with TCPH and has a doctor available to answer questions from the congregation about measles. 

According to WFAA, the local ABC News affiliate in Dallas, Texas, EMIC declined to say how many people usually attend services at the church. Around 200 people came to the vaccination clinic held on the property.

Symptoms of measles include cough, fever, runny nose and a rash on the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles cause an ear infection in about one out of 10 childhood cases, pneumonia in about one out of 20 childhood cases and death in about one or two out of 1,000 childhood cases.

The virus that causes measles is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or breathes. It is highly contagious and, while it has been largely eradicated from the US, it still causes around 200,000 deaths globally each year, says CDC.

Review Date: 
August 21, 2013
Last Updated:
September 5, 2013