5 measles cases confirmed in Harris, Galveston, Montgomery counties

Five cases of the measles have been reported by three counties in the Houston area.

Harris County Public Health reported on Monday that the patients are two boys under the age of 2 and a woman between the ages of 25 and 35. The Galveston County Health District confirmed one case of measles for a boy ranging in age from 12-to-24 months who was tested on Jan. 28. The Montgomery County Public Health District and Montgomery County Hospital District confirmed that one girl under the age of 2 was diagnosed with measles in January. That girl is recovering at home and appears to be doing well.

"Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus, which spreads to others through coughing and sneezing," said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director for HCPH. "However, it is easily preventable. Parents and caregivers have the power to protect their children and themselves from this disease by getting vaccinated."

Officials say there are currently six confirmed reports of measles cases in the state of Texas.

According to HCPH, measles is a highly contagious airborne virus and if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around that person will also become infected if they're not yet vaccinated.

HCPH says the best way to protect yourself against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is through immunization.

"We have one positive case in Galveston County, and we are aware of a small cluster of cases in the region," said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County local health authority. "Residents should be aware and know what symptoms to look for."

"Immediately contact your doctor if you have been exposed to someone who has measles or if you think you may have measles," added Kesier. "Let them know your symptoms and they can decide the best course of action. Your best protection is the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. It provides long-lasting protection. Children need two doses for the best protection."