Texas measles outbreak linked to vaccine-refusing megachurch
A measles outbreak in Texas has reportedly been traced to one of Copeland’s churches, Eagle Mountain International Church in North Texas.
Touting the idea that vaccines can cause autism, its leader, Kenneth Copeland, had reportedly warned followers to stay away from vaccines.
But recently a member of the un-vaccinated congregation left the country and contacted measles. Upon return to Texas, he attended services at the church and got back to his job of handling children at the church’s on-site day-care center, passing on the contagious viral infection to others.
“Those sickened by measles include nine children and six adults, ranging in age from 4 months old to 44 years old. At least 12 of those infected were not fully immunized against measles,” Tarrant County Public Health spokesman Al Roy, said. “The other patients lack documents to show whether they were vaccinated.”
“This is a classic example of how measles is being reintroduced,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
As the news of the outbreak took air, the church’s pastor and Kenneth Copeland’s daughter, Terri Copeland Pearsons, urged members to either get a vaccine shot at any one of the many free vaccination clinics suddenly opened up by the church or to self quarantine at home for at least two weeks if they didn’t want to receive vaccinations.
As of 23 August, 21013, 15 cases had been diagnosed in Tarrant County, Texas, and another five were undergoing treatment in the neighboring county of Denton.
Measles is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus. It can spread via droplets released during coughing and sneezing. The symptoms usually show up from 8 to 12 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms include skin rash, cough, fever, and pain. There is no specific treatment for the condition and most patients will recover with rest. However, more serious complications like inflammation of the brain can result in death.