Local doctor warns of measles outbreak across the US

Texas remains vigilant as measles spreads nationwide

SAN ANTONIO – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a measles outbreak in several states. Texas is not yet one of them.

The CDC said 121 measles cases have been confirmed in the U.S. so far this year, as of the latest update on April 12. To compare, there were 58 confirmed cases in 2023.

Dr. Mandie Tibball Svatek, associate professor of pediatrics with University Health and UT Health San Antonio, said the community should pay attention to the outbreak because the illness is highly contagious.

“You don’t know whether you have the disease. So not probably until about two to three weeks after you’re exposed,” Svatek said.

The symptoms are a high fever, cough and red eyes, followed by a rash and spots inside the mouth.

The measles vaccine is given to children between 1 and 4 years old in two doses. But older adults can also fall ill, even if they’re vaccinated.

“As adults, what they do encourage is that kind of later on in life, because you haven’t received that vaccine since about the age of four, you may need to get revaccinated, especially if we’re starting to see it spread in certain areas,” she said.

Measles spreads through the air and is highly contagious.

“We have a lot of people in Texas, and we travel in and out of Texas to go to other countries,” she said. “And we have an influx of individuals coming in. And so we know that, those individuals may not be vaccinated, they may be exposed, and that may put the rest of our population at risk. So we have to be careful and we have to have our guard up, and we need to protect our children, make sure they get the vaccine for measles.”

In 2019, Texas reported 23 cases of measles.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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