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Measles Outbreak Worsens in Washington State

Measles Outbreak Worsens in Washington State

34 of the 35 cases are in Clark County which is just across the river from Portland, Oregon.

In the Clark County outbreak, people who have contracted the virus have visited community hubs like schools, churches, and doctor's offices, along with a Costco, an Ikea, a Dollar Store and other locations, according to Clark County Public Health. Most of the patients are children under 10, and one child has been hospitalized. In 2018, six cases of measles were reported by B.C residents.

Measles poses the highest risk to unvaccinated pregnant women, infants under one-year-old and people with weakened immune systems.

It could be weeks or even months before the "exquisitely contagious" virus runs its course in Washington, Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer, said Friday.

"State agencies and departments are directed to utilize state resources and to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the incidents", Inslee said in the announcement.

Measles can lead to serious complications including pneumonia but the vaccine is up to 97 percent effective and protects recipients for life. The proposed legislation was sent to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. Individuals who are unsure of their vaccination status are encouraged to check with their physician. On Jan. 7 someone with measles was at Portland International airport, while another infected person went to the Portland Trail Blazers game on Jan. 11.

Deschutes County Health Services is working to notify people of their potential exposure and help them take steps to stop the spread of the virus. While adults are at relatively lower risk, some people may require immunization due to their health care job or any other factor that increases harmful exposure.

Both Washington and OR allow vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons.




Among those 47 states, 18 states also allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have personal, moral or philosophical beliefs against immunizations.

While nearly all states allow exemptions from their vaccination legislation on religious grounds, Washington state is one of 18 states that also allow exemptions on the grounds of personal or moral beliefs. The other 16 are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Vermont.

Measles is a contagious virus that spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing.

Measles can start by showing common symptoms like a fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose and red eyes, she said. It also says that the best protection against it remains the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

"Cases of measles, while not widespread in the United States, are not uncommon and measles is circulating in the United States and internationally". In 2000, officials declared that measles had been officially eliminated from the U.S.

'Having all these unvaccinated children in Clark County is like pouring gasoline over a fire in the Portland area, and the gasoline is measles, ' said Dr Hotez.

So far, 23 cases of the highly contagious disease have been confirmed in Clark County since January 1, according to a Clark County Public Health report published on Tuesday. The vaccine is generally not given to children under a year old. Herd immunity happens when unvaccinated individuals are protected from infection because nearly everyone around them has been vaccinated and is immune to a disease.

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