Parents opting for vaccine exemptions
AMARILLO, Texas (KVII —
So far this year, there have been seven cases of the measles confirmed in Texas.
It is so contagious that according to the CDC, if someone has it, 90 percent of the people around that person, who are not immune, will also be infected.
Some parents might be also be surprised to hear the number of kids in schools who aren't vaccinated.
Casie Stoughton, Director of Public Health in Amarillo, said the illness usually starts with a high fever.
"Some some temperatures will spike to about 104, with cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and then a couple of days after that, some kids will have like a tiny white spots inside their mouth," said Stoughton.
Stoughton said the measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and infants.
"Then there's a red rash that's pretty flat and starts near the hairline and moves its way down the body," said Stoughton. "Then little razor bumps can start to form on top of those flat spots."
The illness is spreading fast throughout the state of Texas.
"We've seen cases of measles in Dallas recently," said Stoughton. "So it's, it's here, you know, in our state, in our country."
According to the State Health Department, parents in Texas can claim a vaccination exemption for reasons of conscience, like religious reasons.
Data from Texas Department of State Health Services shows that Amarillo ISD has 1 percent of students in grades K through twelve who claim this exemption.
The percentage at a smaller schools like San Jacinto Christian Academy is higher at 11.14 percent.
Stoughton said there are other reasons why some kids are not vaccinated.
"Either because they're too young, or because they might be allergic to a component of the vaccine," said Stoughton. "So it's up to the rest of us to help protect those folks in our community."
She said even though parents have a choice, their decision can affect other children's lives.
"You have the power to protect your child against the measles, with the MMR vaccine, and that's such a critical component to to parenthood, is having the power to protect your child," said Stoughton.
If you have not received your MMR vaccine yet, it is not too late. You can get your shot at a local pharmacy or the public health department.