Measles vaccinations exemptions increase in Texas as national outbreak spreads

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CHICAGO, IL – The nation’s measles outbreak has reached an Illinois day care. Cook County officials confirm two babies have the measles with three others possibly exposed at a KinderCare in the Chicago suburb of Palatine.

All five babies are under the age of one, which is too young to be vaccinated. Since the initial outbreak linked to Disneyland in California, health officials have confirmed more than 100 cases across the country, including 99 in California.

So far, Texas has recorded one case of measles, in Tarrant County last month. But that could change if unvaccinated school kids become exposed to the deadly virus.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says more than 38,000 public and private school kids were exempt from vaccinations last school year, up about 30 percent from the previous year.

Austin Waldorf, a private school in Travis County, had the highest percentage of unvaccinated kids in Texas private schools, 48.2 percent. That’s 188 students.

Calvert ISD, about midway between College Station and Waco, had the highest percentage of unvaccinated kids in the state’s public schools last year, 73.4 percent, or 124 of the district’s 168 students.

But the Denton Independent School District reported the most unvaccinated public school kids: 3,647, or about 12.4 percent of its students.

Denton school officials now say they filed the wrong numbers. They say this year’s revised rate is 1.9 percent.

Clear Creek ISD may have had the highest percentage of unvaccinated public school kids in the Houston area last school year: About 1-point-2 percent, or about 488 of its roughly 40,660 students.

In contrast, Fort Bend ISD had about 28,000 more students than Clear Creek, 68,880, but only 0.5 percent was not vaccinated, for a total of 344 students.

The Houston Independent School District, the state’s largest, had only about 0.3 percent not vaccinated out of more than 210,300 students last year.

Health officials say it’s never too late to get the measles vaccine, until you or your child catch the disease, and then, it really is too late.

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