Tarrant County measles cases up to 11; outbreak in church - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Tarrant County measles cases up to 11; outbreak centered in church

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Tarrant County health officials informed FOX4 of a new measles case on Tuesday afternoon, for a total of 11 cases of the disease in the county.

All of the cases are connected to each other and can be traced back to the adult who visited Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark in far northwest Tarrant County.

He brought his 8-year-old son to Healthy Living Faith Clinic at the church with a high fever.

Dr. Karen Smith had alreadly seen three people with similar symptoms, including his father, but the boy's case was a turning point.

"I think I thought 'oh no' because now I know what all these other people have," Smith said.

The church is doing what it can to contained the outbreak.

Pastor Terri pearsons told the congregation about it at a recent service, closed the church day care, scrubbed the entire campus and held free vaccination clinics for members.

Tarrant County officials said the strain of measles in the county is commonly found in Asia, according to their analysis.

Eight of the 11 people who have contracted the virus were not immunized against measles, officials said.

The church on Tuesday released a statement confirming the measles outbreak in its worship community.

"The ministry has held free immunizations clinics for employees and church members to assist them in obtaining the best medical care for their families. We continue to follow up on pending and confirmed cases to help in any way we can to keep the outbreak contained," said spokeswoman Nancy Alto. "We ask that others join with us in prayer over this outbreak, and we believe that God is moving on behalf of each affected family."

The youngest person affected is a 1-year-old and the oldest is 44. Eight of the 11 people who contracted the virus have recovered, officials said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a health alert Friday after enough people across the state contracted measles. Other unrelated measles cases in 2013 include two in Dallas County, two in Denton County and one in Harris County.

Measles was largely wiped out after a vaccine became widespread in the 1950s, making cases rare in the United States.

Measles, according to health officials, causes a reddish rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes and usually lasts one to two weeks. The measles virus can stay suspended in the air for up to two hours after an infectious person has been present.

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