Advocacy group calls for tougher state laws requiring vaccines for preventable diseases

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Advocates push for tougher vaccination laws.

A vaccination advocacy group is pushing for tougher state laws requiring vaccines for preventable diseases like measles.

Members of Children at Risk and The Immunization Partnership will speak about that Wednesday morning.

It comes after La Porte Elementary School sent a letter to parents Tuesday that a pre-k student may have the measles.

The district disinfected the classrooms and common areas while the suspected case is under investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY: La Porte Elementary investigating suspected case of measles

Earlier this month, health officials in Harris, Montgomery and Galveston counties each reported at least one confirmed case of the illness.

According to Montgomery County officials, a 2-year-old girl is recovering from the disease. They also said this case is connected to one of the Harris County cases, but details of the connection were not immediately disclosed.
Galveston County Health District also confirmed a case involving a boy whose age ranges from 12 to 24 months old. The child was tested on Jan. 28, and officials said the case is part of a cluster in the region.

Harris County Public Health said two boys under the age of two and a 25 to 35-year-old woman were diagnosed with the measles. All three patients live in northwest Harris County.

The advocacy group says Texas is in a vaccine crisis, adding that in 2004, there were more than 2,300 non-medical exemptions for vaccines in the state.

That number is now up to 56,000. La Porte health care professionals are urging parents to fully vaccinate their kids.

"We advise people to vaccinate their kids against measles because it is proven to be a safe immunization and highly effective. Measles is very contagious and can cause a lot of complications," said Davita Hall, a nurse practitioner at AFC Urgent Care.

Measles is 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.

It takes two rounds of vaccines to be fully protected. The second round happens at four to six years of age.

SEE MORE: What is measles? What to know about measles symptoms, vaccine and treatment
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Though a vaccination program has drastically reduced measles cases in the U.S., measles is still one of the leading causes of death in young children internationally, according to the World Health Organization.

RELATED: Cause for concern? Texas among states with highest rates of children who aren't vaccinated

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