Officials confirm measles case in Austin, Texas

Health officials in Austin, Texas, are warning residents about possible exposure to measles after confirming the first case in the city since 1999. Photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz/U.S. Air Force

Dec. 25 (UPI) — Texas officials are cautioning those living and visiting Austin about measles after health authorities confirmed the first case in the city since 1999.

Local health officials started notifying Austin residents Sunday about possible exposure at a handful of locations. An Austin resident contracted measles while traveling in Europe in late November and early December.

“Out of an abundance of caution, health departments in central Texas are informing people who were at various locations listed below during the specified time frames that they may have been exposed to an individual with measles,” a statement on Austin Public Health website said. “Local, state and federal health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to inform people who may have been exposed.”

That person became sick on Dec. 14 and developed a rash on Dec. 17 as that person caught a flight to Virginia, through a Chicago connector.

Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority at Austin Public Health, did not identify the person but said the person was a vaccinated adult. He said those who think they may have been exposed to measles should contact their doctor directly instead of going to a clinic, where they could possibly infect others.

Escott said Austin is at particular risk for a measles outbreak because of a large concentration of students with waivers for state-required vaccinations for public school students.

“Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease,” Escott said in a statement. “A small number of cases are capable of quickly producing epidemics. The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization.”

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