Officials urge vaccinations amid Northwest measles outbreak

Officials urge vaccinations amid Northwest measles outbreak

Officials urge vaccinations amid Northwest measles outbreak

Clark County Public Health has confirmed more than 30 measles cases since January 1.

Most of the cases have been in children younger than 10, according to a statement from the Clark County Public Health Department in Washington.

Two states experiencing a measles outbreak, Washington and OR, allow parents to opt out of vaccines simply because they want to. In recent years, however, the viral illness has popped up again from NY to California and sickened hundreds.

A larger than average percentage of children don't have required vaccines in Clark County, which is the epicenter of the outbreak, according to a Washington Post analysis. While the King County website says the patient, a man in his 50s, is a "suspected case", the governor said in a news release it is a confirmed case of measles.

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"What keeps me up at night is eventually having a child die from this completely preventable situation", he said.

What is clear to experts is that not being vaccinated is what put those people at risk - and what allowed the measles to spread. "Being vaccinated provides very good protection against the measles".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there were 349 confirmed cases of measles in 2018 in 26 states, including Virginia. Officials believe the person was traveling internationally when they were exposed to measles.

They announced Monday that others could have been infected at the popular Oregon Museum of Science & Industry in Portland and a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the bedroom community of Vancouver, Washington. "However, the majority of people exposed to measles are not at-risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine". The proportion of children receiving no vaccine doses by 2 years old rose from 0.9% among those born in 2011 to 1.3% among those born in 2015, the CDC reported in October. First, a well-publicized measles outbreak linked to Disneyland in California had just sickened 147 people nationwide.

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In the US last year, there were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles.

Officials still are not sure where this Pacific Northwest outbreak began. 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. The typical recommendations are that children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, the first between 12 to 15 months of age and the second between 4 and 6 years old.

Over the last few years, flu vaccination effectiveness rate has hovered around 40 percent, which may lead to confusion about other vaccines. Inslee notes, "Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed".

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

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