As Count Rises, Health Officials Say Measles Outbreak Could Last Months

The governor of Washington declared a state of emergency on Friday after 26 cases of measles erupted in Clark and King counties.

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that the outbreak in Clark County "creates an extreme public health risk" that could spread throughout the state.

There's a measles outbreak in Washington state.

Health officials in OR have raised concerns that the virus could easily cross the border. The majority of the cases involve children younger than 10. In 2018, six cases of measles were reported among BC residents: two cases acquired infection during travel out of Canada (India and Philippines, respectively), and four acquired infection from imported cases. The first known patient sought medical care on December 31, but it isn't known if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment.

According to the Clark County Department of Public Health's investigation, at least 30 of its recorded cases were in people who were not immunized against the virus.

Measles was eradicated in the USA after a safe and cheap vaccine was developed in 1963, but in recent years, outbreaks from NY to California have sickened hundreds.

Clark County has so far poured $100,000 into trying to contain the outbreak, with staff being reassigned from other duties to help manage the public health effort. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.

"The bottom line is, there's no surprise we're seeing this right now", Melnick said.

"While we do want to have a heightened level of concern and be aware of measles, there are many more much more common viruses that are circulating", she said. "We know that we have a highly effective vaccine, and it's really due to under-vaccination that it is coming back".

Because measles is among the most highly contagious of all infectious diseases, it flares up in areas with low vaccination rates, Peter J. Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told the the Washington Post. One vaccine provides 93 per cent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 per cent protection. Measles can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and even simply by breathing.

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.

Who cares if measles are the most contagious of any disease known to man.

Every time an unvaccinated person who has been exposed to measles goes out in public, "it starts that clock over again", Armstrong said. Initial symptoms include fever, cough, watery eyes, and a runny nose; a blotchy red rash will typically spread to all over the infected individual's body roughly three to five days later. Because some people like to claim personal exemptions to getting the vaccine. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be deadly.

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