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Measles Milestone: Most Confirmed US Cases In 25 Years

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - This week the United States hit a milestone - the most confirmed measles cases in 25 years with still eight months to go in 2019.

Then, hundreds of college students at two Southern California universities found themselves under quarantine because of possible measles exposure.

"I am immunized because I'd rather not get sick with measles," Katie Pauss, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas, said. "I think most of the measles outbreaks, the people getting measles, is a lot of people who just don't understand how immunology works."

It's a view not everyone at her university shares, but many North Texas college students are wondering what the requirements are when it comes to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

In North Texas, CBS 11 found Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University both require it. The University of North Texas and The University of Texas at Dallas recommend it, but do not require it.

"I think now they should change their mind on that," Pauss said.

When it comes to school-aged children -Texas is one of 18 states that allows parents to opt out of the MMR shots for non-medical reasons.

A study by the Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine looked at the areas with the highest exemptions. Among them - both Tarrant and Collin County. Specifically, Fort Worth and Plano.

These "hot spots" as the study calls them could be vulnerable to contagious diseases like the measles.

Since the California measles scare, the Any Lab Test Now! laboratory in Dallas has been seeing a spike in college students testing to see if they're immune to the disease.

"There are people that had had the immunization years ago just rechecking them selves to make sure they're OK," lab manager Sharon Harper said. "They are just concerned."

Harper's lab can only test if you have built up an immunity to measles. She said if you do decide you need a vaccination, that will have to be done in a clinic or doctor's office.

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