HOUSTON – A child hospitalized with a severe fever has tested positive for the measles virus.
The Houston Health Department tells us the boy is between the ages of 1 and 3 years old, but it’s unclear if he’s ever received a vaccination.
Health professionals at Texas Children’s Hospital confirmed the case to KHOU 11 News Tuesday morning.
“A patient treated at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus tested positive for measles. This is a highly-contagious, vaccine-preventable infection,” Jenn Blackmer Jacome, assistant director of Public Relations with Texas Children’s said in a statement Tuesday morning. “We know vaccination is the best protection against measles.”
The boy had recently traveled to another country where he may have contracted the virus, but doctors will not specify where he traveled.
An investigation has been launched by the health department into all those who came in contact with the child since his time back in the U.S.
“We work closely with public health entities to continuously monitor highly-contagious diseases in our local, national and international communities,” Jacome said. “Our Infection Control and Prevention team immediately identified other children who may have come in contact with this patient to assess their risk and provide clinical recommendations. We have contacted all of those families.”
While they wait for final results, Porfirio Villarreal of the Houston Health Department strongly advises all parents to consider vaccination.
“The measles vaccine is very affective. With one dose at one year of age, it’s 93 percent effective. When you have the second dose between 4 and 6 years, it’s like 97 percent effective. Most people will not get the disease if they’ve been properly immunized and you do need the two doses at those ages,” Villarreal said.
The Centers for Disease Control say there are four things they want all parents to know.
- Don’t take the measles lightly. The virus can be very dangerous, especially for children five years old or younger. Doctors say about one in four people in the US who get measles will be hospitalized with conditions that can lead to brain damage and even death.
- The measles are contagious with a 90 percent chance of infecting someone who hasn’t been vaccinated.
- You may not hear much about measles in the US, but it does happen. There are about 200 cases reported every year.
- It’s up to all parents to vaccinate if your child will be traveling abroad, they should have both vaccination shots by their first birthday.