Health Officials Warn of Measles - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Health Officials Warn of Measles

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Tonight as Houstonians are getting ready to send their kids back to class doctors say the measles vaccine should be on their back to school list.

14 cases have now triggered a state wide alert but FOX 26 has learned even just 1 confirmed case is enough to put health officials on high-alert.

According to doctors that reason for that is the virus is so contagious and often misdiagnosed. If a child is infected they could be spreading it to hundreds of other even while sitting in the emergency room.

"This is one of them. I have them on both arms," says Maya Fasthoff, who explains how the scars on her arm are no longer common.

"I grew up in Colombia and so those are mandatory," Fasthoff is talking about her vaccinations, proof that Maya was defending her health but it was no match for the measles.

"Very tired not hungry and just very very thirsty. I felt parched and it almost killed me and I was vaccinated so had I not been vaccinated I would've died and those were the doctors words to my mom."

That's why Fasthoff says she's more than concerned with this state wide measles alert. In 2012 there were no cases reported but already 14 cases this year. Health officials have confirmed 9 cases in Tarrant County , 2 in Dallas, 2 in Denton plus 1 here in Harris county.

"It has a potential to cause a big outbreak" says Dr. Catherine Troisi who also described how the virus is airborne, extremely contagious and can attack the central nervous system.

Early symptoms include itchy-irritated eyes and high fever that could cause seizures even death.

The virus also has an incubation period before any signs of symptoms. The bigger problem though according to health officials is "parents" and avoiding immunizations.

Children should get the vaccine at 15 months then again before starting kindergarten. It's a line of defense Dr. Troisi says lasts a lifetime despite fears of potential side effects. "There have never been any studies showing that the vaccine is linked to autism and the original report that is published in England has been shown to not be true that the documents were in fact falsified" she says. And with kids like 8-year-old Drew Fasthoff ready for school doctors says it's crucial to take preventative measures.

While Maya admits she can't protect her son from everything but she can certainly defend him from the measles.

"It makes me feel better because if we want to travel or we meet people that come here from another country that may be exposed to these things then my son is safe" says Fasthoff.

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