Stillwater News Press

August 23, 2013

State health officials are concerned about Texas Measles

By Nick Woodruff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Texas Measles have raised concerns with Oklahoma health officials.

Even though Oklahoma hasn’t had a case of Texas Measles since 1997, registered nurse Sarah Willis said health officials are on the lookout.

Willis said not everyone has to worry about the virus. In fact, 97 percent of children entering kindergarten have had the MMR vaccination. Also, older individuals don’t have to worry about the Texas Measles.

 She said a person who was born before 1957 is more than likely immune to the virus, but anyone born after 1957 should consider getting the vaccine if they have not been vaccinated.

Although the vaccination is the most sure way to keep from contracting the virus, Willis said if a person doesn’t receive the vaccination and realizes they may have the virus, they should stay isolated from other people because the virus is highly contagious

Willis said symptoms of the virus include high-grade fever, cough, eye irritation, runny nose and rash. She said the rash is usually flat or bumpy and red. Once the virus is contracted, it takes three days for it to reach its peak and then three days after that for it to go away.

Even though the rash will go away, Willis said it is important for a person to stay isolated for four more days. The virus is still highly contagious.

Annette O’Connor, administrative director at the Payne County Health Department, said there are no cases in Oklahoma and people aren’t rushing in to get the MMR vaccination. She said many parents are bringing their children in to get shots up to date to get their kids in school.

O’Connor said the Payne County Health Department has the vaccinations. People born after 1957 should check their shot records. She said if they notice they don’t have this shot, they should consider coming in and getting it.

“The best way to keep from getting the virus is to simply come in and get the vaccination,” O’Connor said.

The Payne County Health Department is located at 1321 W. Seventh Ave. in Stillwater and is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The health department is also open on Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

O’Connor said if these times conflict with someone’s schedule, the health department will try to arrange a non-office hour visit.