Texas mega-church linked to measles outbreak


A Texas mega-church previously opposed vaccinations has been linked to at least 21 cases of measles and is now urging members to get the preventative shots.
The Associated Press reported that Terri Pearson, senior pastor at Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, told members of her flock that the Old Testament was "full of precautionary measures," according to the San Antonio Express-News.
In an online transcript of a sermon, Pearson said, "I would encourage you to do that. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that. Go do it. Go do it. Go do it. And go in faith."
Members of the church, which is part of Ken Copeland Ministries, had recently traveled abroad and contracted measles. Church-members who were not vaccinated were particularly vulnerable to catching the rare disease, according to Healthline.
The church, which once held the belief that measles vaccines could provoke autism, has since hosted several vaccination clinics, the AP reported.
As of the year 2000, measles had been "practically erradicated in the United States," according to the Mayo Clinic. But the viral disease, which causes a blotchy skin rash and flu-like symptoms, has been making a come-back in recent years. Measles currently kills several thousand people a year, most of them younger than five years old. It can be prevented with a vaccine.
The disease is highly contagious. On August 16, and in response to the cases linked to the church, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a measles alert urging people to get vaccinated.

"State health officials urge immunization to protect against and prevent the spread of measles. People should check their immunization status with their health care provider," the warning reads. 
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