MCH Gives Signs and Symptoms of Measles, Prepared for Outbreak

MCH Gives Signs and Symptoms of Measles, Prepared for Outbreak

By Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - After an outbreak in Disneyland, the measles has spread to six states. Doctors are urging people to get vaccinated if they haven't already. The virus is extremely contagious and could potentially spread rapidly.

"What's a little bit alarming about the measles is that you're actually contagious four days before the rash ever starts and even four days after it's gone. So a lot of people might not even know that they're in that incubation period where they could be spreading it to others," Diana Ruiz, Director of Community Health at Medical Center Hospital, said.

Symptoms include fever, runny nose, red eyes, coughing and a signature rash.

"It's spread through air droplets. So when we cough, when we breathe, when we sneeze, that's how we spread the virus from one person to another," Ruiz said.

The measles are still very common in other countries. But here in the United States, it can be prevented with just a simple vaccination.

"The first dose is actually given to children at 12 to 16 months and the second dose is given around four to six years of age. It's very important to get both doses because with both doses, you're actually about 97% covered," Ruiz said.

Ector County has yet to see any cases this year but if there is an outbreak, Medical Center Hospital said they're prepared.

"We have a very strong infection control policy and so we would certainly be very well equipped to be able to handle an outbreak. We strongly believe in hand hygiene and making sure we wear the proper protective equipment. So I'm confident we would be able to handle an outbreak," Ruiz said.