Texas health officials have issued a measles alert, after an alarming spike in cases of measles have been detected in the state, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  "This is the most number of cases we have had in Texas since 1992," said Christine Mann of the Department of State Health Services. "By far in the last decade at least, we have seen only a handful of cases a year."


  Officials say measles, technically known as rubeola, is a highly contagious rash illness causes by a virus transmitted by the respiratory route.  Incubation periods average 10-12 days.  From exposure to rash onset the average is 14 days, but you can be exposed but not feel the symptoms for as long as 18 days.


  Measles is nothing to sneeze at.  Children can have a fever of 105 degrees, permanent brain damage, and death.


  Mann suspects that the measles was introduced to Texas this year by a traveler to parts of Asia and Africa where measles remains a serious problem.


  "Usually when he sees a case of measles in Texas, it is associated with someone who has traveled overseas to an area where measles is endemic to the region," she said.


  "It is imperative that parents have their children immunized," said Anna Dragsbaek, president of the Immunization Partnership.  "Remember, babies can be immunized after six months of age."


  Measles is one of the diseases that children have to be immunized against before they will be allowed to enter school next week.  But officials are concerned about parents who still believe debunked internet-myths that vaccinations are somehow connected to autism, and refuse to have their children immunized for that reason.