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    measel image

    At the beginning of 2016, Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) investigated an imported case of measles. The case involved a passenger of an international flight who arrived at DFW Airport on January 6.  This case was not related to a concurrent measles outbreak that was centered around Disneyland California at that time.

    After the CDC turned over information about the flight, TCPH identified and monitored five others on that flight who might have been at risk for measles.  Fortunately, none of those individuals contracted the disease. No additional measles cases related to this case were reported to TCPH.

    Tarrant County Public Health continues to monitor the community for measles, as well as other diseases that may threaten the community.

    More information about measles

     

    Additional Background

    In 2000, the United States declared that measles was no longer endemic (constantly present) in the country. The U.S. was able to eliminate measles because it has a highly effective measles vaccine, a strong vaccination program that achieves high vaccine coverage in children and a strong public health system for detecting and responding to measles cases and outbreaks.

    One dose of measles vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus and two doses are about 97 percent effective. Most people in the United States are protected against measles through vaccination, so measles cases in the U.S. are uncommon compared to the number of cases before a vaccine was available. Since 2000, the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 668 people in 2014.

    Since measles is still common in many countries, this disease is brought into the U.S. by unvaccinated travelers (Americans or foreign visitors) who get measles while they are in other countries. They can spread measles to other people who are not protected against measles, which sometimes leads to outbreaks. This can occur in communities with unvaccinated people.

    Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease. People who are unvaccinated for any reason, including those who refuse vaccination, risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others, including those who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions.

    In 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014, there were more reported measles cases compared with previous years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts attribute this to:

    • more measles cases than usual in some countries to which Americans often travel (such as England, France, Germany,
      India, the Philippines and Vietnam), and therefore more measles cases coming into the US, and/or
    • more spreading of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.

    Very few people—about three out of 100—who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Experts aren’t sure why; it could be that their immune systems didn’t respond as well as they should have to the vaccine. But the good news is, fully vaccinated people who get measles are much more likely to have a milder illness, and they are also less likely to spread the disease to other people, including people who can’t get vaccinated because they are too young or have weakened immune systems.

    You are considered protected from measles if you have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the
    following:

    • You received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)—
      • school-aged child (grades K-12)
      • adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including
        students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel and international travelers.
    • You received one dose of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)—
      • preschool-aged child
      • adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will not be in a high-risk setting for measles transmission.
    • A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
    • A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
    • You were born before 1957.