Austin, Texas – Austin Public Health has not confirmed any secondary cases as a result of the measles exposure. APH officials have contacted those who were in close proximity to a person identified with measles.
The incubation period for measles is typically 10-14 days, but out of an abundance of caution, investigations continued through January 7 in case of delayed doctor visits. As of today, no additional cases have been reported. Epidemiologists will continue to monitor.
On December 21, the first measles case in Travis County since 1999 was reported. In response to this report, APH, in collaboration with regional, state and federal health officials, including the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heightened surveillance and communication efforts.
Public health officials continue to encourage vaccinations to ensure you and your family are protected against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Measles is a virus that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. Symptoms include cough, rash, fever and sore eyes.
“Given how contagious this virus is, we are very thankful that we have not seen a measles outbreak in Travis County,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority and medical director for Austin Public Health. “This measles case in Austin serves as a critical reminder about the importance of vaccines.”
Many factors may be attributed to the lack of measles spread from this specific case. The most important factor is the high immunization rate resulting in adequate herd immunity, which made it less likely that the measles virus would circulate. This also serves as a good reminder to stay home if you are sick, whether it be with the measles, flu or any other illness.
Children should receive their first dose of measles vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age, another dose at 4-6 years of age. Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine is generally first given at 12 months of age in the United States but is sometimes recommended for children as young as six months of age who are traveling outside the United States or could be infected in an outbreak. While Austin/Travis County has a relatively high vaccination rate, there are pockets of communities where vaccination opt-outs bring herd immunity to an unstable status.