Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Measles Outbreak Hits Texas Megachurch

TUESDAY, Aug 27 (HealthDay News) -- A measles outbreak has sickened 21 members of a Texas megachurch, including a 4-month-old infant, and more cases are expected, according to local health officials.

Eagle Mountain International Church, in Newark, about 20 miles north of Fort Worth, has been running vaccination clinics since the outbreak began earlier this month, officials said.

In Tarrant County, where the church is located, 11 of the 16 people with measles weren't vaccinated against the disease. The others may have had at least one measles vaccination. None of the five people infected in nearby Denton County had been vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

The church is part of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries, which urges members to "first seek the wisdom of God" and then "appropriate medical attention from a professional that you know and trust," NBC News reported.

Terri Pearsons, a senior pastor at the church and Copeland's daughter, has previously expressed concerns about possible links between childhood vaccines and autism, USA Today reported. That concern has been repeatedly refuted by health officials.

In a recent sermon, Pearsons encouraged followers who haven't been vaccinated to do so, adding that the Old Testament is "full of precautionary measures."

"I would encourage you to do that. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that. Go do it. Go do it. Go do it. And go in faith," said Pearsons. But she added, if "you've got this covered in your household by faith and it crosses your heart of faith then don't go do it," the AP reported.

Robert Hayes, the risk manager for Kenneth Copeland Ministries, said the church has never advised adults or children to avoid immunization for measles, NBC News reported.

Health officials said church leaders have been very cooperative in the outbreak investigation, NBC News reported.

Dr. Paul Offit is chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He said that "there are only two ways you can develop specific immunity [to measles], either be infected by the natural virus or be immunized."

He added: "A choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice. It's a choice to take a different and more serious risk."

According to news reports, the outbreak began after a visitor to the church who had traveled to Indonesia brought the infection back, spreading it to unvaccinated church members. Texas health authorities notified the church of the first cases on Aug. 14 and issued a warning about the outbreak on Aug. 16.

In the interim, hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000 contacts, could have been affected by potentially infected people, Dr. Jane Seward, deputy director for the viral diseases division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC.

"In this community, these cases so far are all in people who refused vaccination for themselves and their children," she told the network.

Offit said measles is highly contagious. "If someone comes into our hospital with measles no one else can go into the room for the next two hours after the patient has left," he said.

"Before there was a measles vaccine there were about 3 to 4 million cases of measles in the United States, about 100,000 hospitalizations and 500 to 1,000 deaths," Offit said.

The CDC recommends that children get a measles/mumps/rubella vaccine at 12 months and again at 4 to 6 years of age.

More information

To learn more about measles, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Paul Offit, M.D., chief, division of infectious diseases, director, Vaccine Education Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; NBC News; Associated Press; USA Today

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Infectious Diseases
Kenji Cunnion, MD
Randall Fisher, MD
Laura Sass, MD
Health Tips
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
What Every Parent Should Know About Vaccinations
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Why Measles Remains a Threat
Quizzes
Immunization Quiz
Infant Immunization Quiz
Prevention
Prevention Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
Prevention Guidelines for Men 18–39
Prevention Guidelines for Men 40-49
Prevention Guidelines for Men 50-64
Prevention Guidelines for Men 65+
Prevention Guidelines for Women 18-39
Prevention Guidelines for Women 40-49
Prevention Guidelines for Women 50-64
Prevention Guidelines for Women 65+
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Childhood Immunizations
Diphtheria in Children
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Firearms
Gynecological Infections
Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib)
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Infection in Babies
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Newborn Immunizations
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Pneumococcus
Polio (IPV)
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Rubeola (Measles)
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.