By Nancy Whitney
Reports of a Schell Elementary School student developing measles has surfaced. Schell Elementary is located in Richardson and services over 650 students.
The student who contracted the virus reportedly traveled internationally and had not been vaccinated. The student returned to school from winter break on Jan. 5 and began showing symptoms of the virus the following day.
Measles is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily from person to person by respiratory droplets and airborne spread. Patients are contagious from four days before onset of rash to four days after the appearance of a rash. Symptoms of measles include rash, fever greater than 101°F, cough, runny nose or eye redness.
The Collin County Health Care Services is reviewing the situation and identifying who might have been exposed. A letter sent to parents at Schell Elementary School, by the CCHCS, warned that “anyone at the school on Jan. 5 could have had exposure to the case.”
Plano ISD Executive Director for Communications Lesley Range Stanton said the health services department confirmed that extra cleaning measures were applied at the campus after learning of the diagnosis.
“The district has followed all protocols and recommendations from the Collin County Health Department,” Stanton said.
The student infected with measles has since recovered from the virus and has returned to school.
Dr. Jawaid Asghar, chief epidemiologist for the CCHCS, said there haven’t been any indications of an outbreak, but it would take 21 days from the point of contact to confirm whether the infection had spread. The ‘all clear’ for the school will not come until the end of January.
Plano ISD does require that all students are up to date on age appropriate vaccinations. According to their website, students may be exempt from receiving vaccinations if a physician has written a statement stating that the vaccine(s) required would be medically harmful or injurious to the health and well-being of the child; for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs; if the student has already had the disease and can no longer contract it, such as with chicken pox; or if they are immune to the disease.
For additional information on Plano ISD vaccination requirements visit http://www.pisd.edu/parents/health/immunizations.shtml#Required.