A Texas measles outbreak has been tied to a megachurch in Tarrant County.
According to NBC, the outbreak has sickened at least 21 people ranging in age from 4 months to 44 years old. Dr. Jane Seward, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas has preached against vaccinations in the past.
Seward said that she expects the outbreak could spread throughout the church in the next few days.
Seward said: “There’s likely a lot more susceptible people… In this community, these cases so far are all in people who refused vaccination for themselves and their children.”
The Texas measles outbreak was started after a visitor to the church returned from a trip to Indonesia. Russell Jones, a Texas state epidemiologist, said that Tarrant County has a 98% vaccination rate but that many of the people at the Eagle Mountain Megachurch skip vaccinations.
Jones said: “We have a pocket of people that weren’t immunized.”
The Eagle Mountain megachurch writes on its website that it advocates faith-healing and advises its members to “seek the Wisdom of God” before seeking medical attention.
The church writes online: “Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ position regarding dealing with any medical condition involving yourself or someone in your family is to first seek the wisdom of God, His Word, and appropriate medical attention from a professional that you know and trust. Apply wisdom and discernment in carrying out their recommendations for treatment. This would include: vaccinations, immunizations, surgeries, prescriptions, or any other medical procedures.”
Health officials said that the church has been very cooperative with the investigation into the measles outbreak.
The church said in a statement: “We continue to follow up on pending and confirmed cases to help in any way we can to keep the outbreak contained… We ask that others join us in prayers over this outbreak.”