MEASLES CLUSTER: Fourth case diagnosed in Harris County

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A fourth patient has been diagnosed with measles in Harris County, marking another case of the contagious virus in recent weeks.

Harris County Public Health confirmed the latest case involves a male between the age of 15 and 24 years old. The patient resides in the southeast part of the county.

Earlier this month, the health agency said two boys under the age of 2 years old and a 35-year-old woman were diagnosed with measles. All three of those patients live in northwest Harris County.

Montgomery and Galveston counties also confirmed cases this month.

PREVIOUS STORY: 5 measles cases in Harris, Montgomery, Galveston counties

Measles is a highly contagious virus spread through direct contact or through the air.

Symptoms include a high fever, coughing, runny nose and watery, red eyes between seven and 14 days after infection, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says.

However, measles is preventable.

Health officials are encouraging everyone to protect themselves from the virus by being vaccinated.

"You have a vaccine that can prevent the actual illness. Once you have it, the only thing you can do is to try to keep the fever down, keep them hydrated," said Dr. Suzanna Cruz at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says since the vaccine was approved in the 60s, measles cases have gone from three to four million a year to a 99 percent reduction, only to make a rebound, especially among pockets of those who aren't immunized.

These latest cases in Texas come as other parts of the country battle an outbreak.
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