State of Emergency Declared Over Washington Measles Outbreak

State of Emergency Declared Over Washington Measles Outbreak

State of Emergency Declared Over Washington Measles Outbreak

A public health emergency was declared Friday in Clark County, less than a half hour drive from Portland, in response to the measles outbreak.

The outbreak - centered in Clark County, a southwestern Washington county that borders Portland, Oregon - has infected more than three dozen people since January 1, Washington health officials say.

Most of the cases involved children younger than 10, the Clark County Public Health Department said in a statement. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists.

Measles is perfectly preventable thanks to vaccines, but due to people who stand to gain from vaccine skepticism, some parents are choosing to put their children and many other people at risk. Writer Mariel Gaza pointed out that, notably, the core areas where measles began to spread rapidly are those whose local laws allowed parents to refuse vaccination for their children for whatever personal reason, specifically OR and Washington states. It's spread through those common winter companions, sneezing and coughing. "So when you think about parents bringing their children in for immunizations, it's not a disease that looms large in your memory".

And once there are pockets of disease, the possibility of a measles outbreak increases.

A measles outbreak in the U.S. Northwest that has sickened at least 35 people has some people wondering - could it affect Arizona?

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Anyone who suspects they may have the measles should call ahead before coming to a clinic or emergency department, to avoid exposing others to the virus, Castrodale said. Two of the facilities are among more than three dozen places where people may have been exposed to measles. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive two doses: one at 12 through 15 months of age, the second at 4 through 6 years of age. The Oregonian reports that two Clark County children who contracted the disease and who were unvaccinated recently traveled to Hawaii, where they were quarantined and then flew home after five days. The measles vaccine is 98 percent effective.

But in recent years, outbreaks have been cropping up in pockets of the country where the anti-vaccination movement has taken hold, fuelled by disproven claims that vaccines cause autism.

In Clark County, however, vaccination rates have been dropping.

MMR vaccine refusal, however, has been on the rise over the last decade.

Measles symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) or a runny nose.

In Clark County, which borders on Portland, almost seven percent of children were exempted from required kindergarten entry vaccines in the 2017-2018 school year for non-medical reasons, according to Isaac Stanley-Becker of the Washington Post.

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