Measles Health Alert

From the Texas Medical Association:

Measles Health Alert


Three cases of measles have been identified in Houston. Prior to diagnosis, but during the period of communicability, the infected individuals visited several health care facilities in the Houston area. The sites visited between Dec. 4 and Dec. 12 include: Texas Children’s Hospital, a doctors’ office at 2500 Tanglewilde, St. Luke’s Minor Emergency (San Felipe), Kelsey-Seybold Clinic (Holcombe), and a doctor’s office at Texas Medical Center.

The incubation period for measles is generally 14 days from exposure to rash, however it can range from 7 to 18 days. Measles is highly communicable with greater than 90% secondary attack rate among susceptible persons. When considering your practice policies in cases of rash illness, remember that transmission has been documented to occur in waiting room settings with exposures occurring up to 2 hours after the infectious patient’s visit. Cases may transmit virus from 4 days prior to 4 days following rash onset.

With measles occurring in the state, the diagnosis should be considered with any febrile rash illness. Please report upon suspicion any possible measles cases to your local or regional health department. Health departments will assist with specific testing and shipment of specimens.


Col. W.S. “Chip” Riggins Jr., MD, MPH
Chair, Council on Public Health

The real story here is how a patient with the number one infectious disease in the world visited 5 different doctors (including a Childrens’ Hospital) and it wasn’t picked up. This story doesn’t say how it was finally diagnosed. Oh, and why this child hadn’t had their MMR, which is (usually) protective against said virus.

CDC Page on Measles


  1. dr epicurus in oz says:

    That is disturbing…you’d think the first question any doc would ask any kid with a rash would be about vaccinations. Well, maybe second after checking Kernig’s…

  2. Given that it happened in Texas (where I have lived for 20 years now) I would not be at all surprised if the child was not vaccinated bec the parents have extremist religious viewpoints or are ignorant of the risks of vaccines versus the risks of illness. If we Americans don’t get more serious about science and away from fundamentalist religious thinking our complacency is going to cost lives of children.

    I will now get off my soapbox……

  3. They could also have extremist granola views. I get that a lot.

    But maybe that’s less likely in Texas.

  4. Sandra,
    Given the paucity of information, it’s a little early to jump to the ‘redneck moron anti-vaccine religious extremist conspiracy’ just yet. Why don’t we wait a bit, and let our preconceptions about others simmer beneath the surface, so to speak. So as we don’t look, well, predisposed to think the worst of others in a stereotypical manner, one which makes our biases look less like, you know, bigotry against religion and whatnot.

    As for granola, it’s terrific if you’re irregular, otherwise it’s for the Birds.

  5. Steve Lucas says:

    Last year an older doctor passed away and the loss to the community was his clincial skills. He was called in to examine kids when all of the test did not show a cause of illness. He remembered the old illnesses and it was his touch and knowledge that were valuable.

  6. “…how a patient with the number one infectious disease in the world visited 5 different doctors (including a Childrens’ Hospital) and it wasn’t picked up”

    It doesn’t say one person visited 5 different places. It refers to 3 cases of measles and says “the infected [b]individuals[/b] visited several health care facilities”.

  7. We had a case of measles last week at my hospital in a 40 year old male with HIV and AIDS. I’m assuming this was reactivation in a patient with a disastrous immune system and not a new infection.

  8. LibraryGryffon says:

    How often do you actually see a case of measles these days? Could it be that so many children are vaccinated, that the vast majority of febrile rashes are NOT measles, and so measles is now a zebra?

    When I had mumps back in 1982 (on vacation from college of course), the first visit to the ER was for an assumed insect sting, and the doctors and nurses there agreed. When the second side swelled a day and a half later, the poor senior resident had to pull out Harrison’s to check, since he’d only ever seen one case of it before. I was a bit of an oddity, being just old enough to have not received an immunization, but just young enough to have not been exposed at school.

  9. a great reminder. thanks! saw a few cases of chicken pox last year, don’t think i missed any measles.