PLANO, Texas - Collin County health officials said there is a confirmed case of measles at Plano West Senior High School.
Although students are required to be up to date on vaccinations before entering school, there are some exemptions that prevent that from happening.
The disease is highly contagious so health officials are very concerned. They said anyone at the school between Aug. 14-16 could have been exposed.
The health department sent out a letter to parents encouraging them to monitor their children for symptoms until Sept. 6 even if they were vaccinated. Those symptoms include rash, fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes.
Anyone who experiences measles symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately and stay isolated.
Those who are not fully vaccinated and are unwilling to do so were asked to stay home from school and all group settings until 21 days from the last date of exposure.
The school’s staff is being asked to get vaccinated if they cannot show proof that they have already been vaccinated.
While most people are vaccinated for measles, Dr. Gordon Bruce, a pediatrician with Children’s Health and UT Southwestern says there is concern about exposure for babies and people with weakened immune systems.
“Every one person with measles, there will be 90 exposed,” the doctor said.
Texas is one of 18 states that allows parents to opt out of the required vaccines for religious or other reasons.
Collin and Denton counties have opt out rates 3 times higher than Dallas County, here the opt out rate is less than one percent.
“Highly contagious. Causes cough, runny nose, horrible rash,” Bruce said. “Two out of 2,000 will die of the measles."
The most recent data shows that there have been six confirmed cases of measles in Texas this year. All were unvaccinated cases. There was one case reported each year in 2017, 2016 and 2015 but 10 cases in 2014 and 27 in 2013.
The Collin County Health Department did not say if the infected person at Plano West is a student or faculty member or how that person contracted the virus. They said they will update the public as soon as they get more information.