AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the amount of confirmed measles cases has surpassed 1,000 here in the United States.
15 of those are in Texas, with cases also confirmed in New Mexico and Oklahoma, which City of Amarillo Public Health Director Casey Stoughton said does cause some concern that it could spread here to the panhandle.
“There’s always a possibility. That’s why we want to make sure that if you haven’t had a measles vaccine, the MMR vaccine, that you get that now. Anybody over a year of age is eligible to be vaccinated,” said Stoughton.
One of the reasons local, state and national officials said there’s been an increase in these cases because of people not getting vaccinated or refusing to have their family vaccinated due to the misinformation out there regarding the vaccine itself.
“Vaccines are very safe. They’re very effective. The MMR vaccine is about 97 percent effective with two doses. That’s very effective,” said Stoughton.
So far there have been no confirmed measles cases in the Texas Panhandle this year, and Stoughton said the most effective way to keep it that way, is to get yourself and loved ones vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.
“That’s our best defense against measles. Since it is so contagious, we want to make sure we have a fortress of protection around our community and in our families and our friends. That fortress is best built with the vaccine,” Stoughton said.
Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes and then a rash showing up three to five days after symptoms begin.