WAXAHACHIE—After a statewide warning from health officials, six additional related cases of measles have been reported in Ellis County. While the official investigation has concluded, the Texas Department of State Health Services is advising health care providers in the area to take precautions. They should also consider measles as a possible diagnosis in patients with a fever, rash, cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis.
Last month a ShowBiz Cinemas in Waxahachie customer was sick with measles while attending a movie. The highly contagious nature of measles means it’s possible more cases will occur in the community. People involved in the outbreak have connections to Waxahachie and Midlothian.
Reports say these individuals did not receive any of the two vaccines usually administered during their childhood years.
Five additional cases have been reported since; none of them are connected to the movie theater. People who went to the theater on that day should continue to monitor themselves for measles symptoms.
It usually takes about two weeks from the time of exposure to the measles virus for a rash to develop. Although it can take as long as three weeks.
People are contagious from four days before they get a rash to four days after it appears. They should isolate themselves at home during that period, except to seek medical treatment.
The rash usually begins on the face as flat, red spots and then spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
Anyone with these symptoms who thinks they may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider and tell them about the exposure. It’s important to call in advance so the provider can take precautions to help prevent staff and other patients from being exposed to measles.
DSHS recently issued a health advisory for health care facilities and providers in the area reminding them of proper infection control, testing and treatment practices for measles.