Washington State Officials Declare State Of Emergency As Measles Outbreak Continues

30 January, 2019, 02:12 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Washington declares public health emergency after measles outbreak of mostly unvaccinated children

There's a measles outbreak in Washington state. Now, 35 cases have been confirmed in Clark County, a southwestern county that includes Vancouver, and 11 potential cases are awaiting confirmation. At the time there were 26 confirmed measles cases.

So why the emergency declaration? It can be contracted without even being near a person with the virus because it lingers for up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with the measles has been. Ninety per cent of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated will get it, health officials said.

Vaccination rates in OR and Southwest Washington, where measles first broke out, are comparatively low. He says his bill will only allow medical exemptions. "But because the vast majority of us are immune to measles, we tend to not see more than a couple of generations of cases".

Public health officials in southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, said people may have been exposed to the unsafe disease at more than three dozen locations, including Portland International Airport, a Portland Trail Blazers game, an Amazon Locker location and stores such as Costco and Ikea. So far, just one adult in the area has caught the disease. The vaccination status for the remaining four is, for now, unclear. But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, and travellers infected overseas can bring the virus back and spread it, causing periodic outbreaks. Public health experts recommend children get two doses of the MMR vaccine: the first when they're 12 months old, and a second between the ages of 4 and 6. By 2017-2018, only 84 percent of kindergartners had.

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There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to figures from Clark County Public Health, 27 of those infected had not gotten a measles vaccine.

Indeed, recent measles outbreaks like the one in Disneyland in 2015 are thought to be fueled by vaccine refusal as vaccination rates drop below the levels needed to provide herd immunity. Most of the patients are children under 10, and one child has been hospitalized. This particular outbreak has spread to 31 people who were not immunized and four people who were "unverified".

Pediatrician Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine's National School of Tropical Medicine, told NPR there is a very-aggressive anti-vaccine lobby throughout the Pacific Northwest that have effectively driven up the rates of vaccine non-compliance, leaving scores of children vulnerable to the infection.

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