Friday, 19 April, 2019

State of Emergency Declared Over Washington Measles Outbreak

Washington governor declares state of emergency over measles outbreak Measles outbreak prompts state of emergency declaration by Washington governor
Anna Jefferson | 29 January, 2019, 18:39

Although a high percentage of vaccinated people in one community can keep the virus from spreading, a concept known as herd immunity, the number of vaccinated people required to stop a virus as infectious as measles is close to 95%.

As of Sunday afternoon, those figures were 34 cases in Clark County (mostly children) and one case in King County (an adult who had visited the affected area).

Most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department said in a statement.

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.

These rates of non-vaccination are particularly high in the state of OR, which is worrisome considering its close proximity to the outbreak in nearby Clark County, Washington.

The measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed for up to two hours.

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He warned that parents who decide not to vaccinate their children are underestimating the dangers of the measles, the AP reported. "Clearly this is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it wouldn't surprise me if we were in the seven figures by the time we're done here", he said.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed should first check their own immunization status, then watch for symptoms. 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.

Washington state has introduced legislation to remove the personal vaccination exemption, but it's already facing opposition from some parents who feel the bill takes away their freedom.

She is working to combat misinformation that claims vaccines cause cancer, diabetes and autism - all disproven by the CDC.

Clark County Public Health has identified 35 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases since January 1, when it first began investigating the outbreak.

But there has been a recent rise in unvaccinated children. Although it's not clear where he became infected, the man said he'd recently traveled to Clark County. The disease is contagious from approximately four days before the characteristic rash appears to four days after the rash appears. Once a person has measles, about 90% of close contacts who are susceptible to it will develop the disease, she added. Those people stayed home and later got ill, Armstrong said. General symptoms are fever, diarrhea, coughing, runny nose, red and watery eyes and tiredness.

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