Officials confirm 3 more measles cases in Multnomah County

08 February, 2019, 04:11 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Measles a highly contagious but preventable disease most commonly affects children

In the U.S., New York City is presently going through its worst outspread of measles in decades. This is consistent with testing from the first known case (a child) from this outbreak in WA.

Legislation in the state of NY permits vaccine exemptions for individuals who have religious beliefs against immunization. The outbreak in Clark County has been concentrated mostly among unvaccinated children.

On Wednesday, officials sent letters to families of 5,000 children in Multnomah County telling them they'll be excluded from school if they don't have up-to-date immunizations or valid exemptions by February 20. One day without a new measles case might seem an indicator of hope the outbreak is over, but it unfortunately doesn't necessarily indicate the end.

As travel-associated cases and outbreaks like this one are a cause for concern, it is discomforting to know how much worse this outbreak could have been if NY permitted philosophical exemptions for vaccinations, as 17 other states do, authorizing exemptions for personal, moral, or other beliefs, with circumstances varying state by state.

The Vancouver Clinic, which operates medical offices and urgent care centers in the area, reported that shots administered jumped from 263 in January 2018 to 1,444 last month, a almost 450 percent increase.

"While data indicate exceptionally high immunisation coverage at regional level, they also reflect a record number affected and killed by the disease".

The region's measles outbreak began in Clark County, Washington, where since January 1, health officials had confirmed 49 cases and suspected nine others as of Tuesday morning.

However, there are 11 people who display symptoms of measles and are awaiting the results of blood work to confirm the diagnosis. The number of USA children who have not been vaccinated for preventable diseases quadrupled between 2001 and 2018, according to the CDC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in order to reach the measles herd immunity threshold and stop the spread, at least 93-95% of the population must be up-to-date on vaccinations.

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"The strain D8 in Washington's outbreak matches the strain from an ongoing Eastern European outbreak".

To date, 48 of the 50 confirmed cases have been identified in children aged between 1 and 18 years.

Only two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, require children to have updated vaccination records in order to enter school.

"The measles vaccine isn't ideal, but 1 dose is 93% effective at preventing illness", Alan Melnick, MD, Clark County health officer and Public Health director, said in the statement.

Also fueling the spread of measles are adults who received only one shot of vaccine, instead of the two routinely given today, and may now need booster shots, Jankovic said.

And leading health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated. Of those, 72 cases were fatal.

Public health officials have attributed the outbreak to vaccine coverage of less than 50 percent of the population when the outbreak began.

Looking Ahead Where will the next big measles outbreak spring up in the United States?

"We anticipated importation of measles from other parts of the world", Schaffner says, "but it has gained a foothold again because there are communities where a substantial proportion of children remain unimmunized".

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